Dublin Villager

Australian rules football

40 teams to converge for some g'days, mates

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Australian rules football will return to Dublin this fall.

Teams from throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia will come to Dublin Oct. 10-12 for the National Australian Football Championships.

Dublin previously hosted the Australian Rules Football 49th Parallel Cup in 2012.

"This will be much, much, much larger," said Scott Dring, Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.

"The 49th Parallel Cup was just a match between an all-star team from America and one from Canada. That was one game," Dring said.

"This will be the national championship that will attract 40 teams from all over. There will be games all weekend."

Australian rules football is played with two teams of 18 players and points are mainly scored by kicking the ball between two tall goal posts.

The championships will be played at Darree Fields and take up much of the park, Dring said.

"The field is twice the size of football fields side by side," he said. "There will be six of those at Darree Fields with goal posts. It will take up the entire field."

Dublin worked with the city several years ago to secure the event that was held last year in Austin, Texas.

"It's quite a spectacle," Dring said.

The 40 teams that will compete at Darree Fields are expected to bring as many as 3,000 room nights to Dublin.

"The 40-plus teams from various cities from the U.S., two teams from Australia and Canada will bring 2,000 to 3,000 room nights," Dring said.

"They'll be here for that weekend. There are events Friday, Saturday and Sunday night as well," he said. "They'll be spending a lot of money at restaurants and local attractions as well."

Last year's national championships were simulcast nationally, so Dring expects the event to bring Dublin international exposure.

Dublin residents can also get into the sport. The games are free and open to the public. No bleachers will be set up, so fans should bring chairs if they want to take in some Australian rules football.

"It's free for residents to watch," Dring said.

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