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"You Broke His Nose, Fair Play" - Peter Canavan Liked Physicality Of International Rules

"You Broke His Nose, Fair Play" - Peter Canavan Liked Physicality Of International Rules
By Arthur James O'Dea
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When Colm Cooper spoke of his first - and only - experience of the International rules series, it became clear that it was an 'experiment' he had no intention of trying for a second time.

Dismayed by the physical approach of their Australian opponents, Cooper's relatively slight stature - but undoubted skill - marked him out for special treatment.

One man of a similar frame who seemed to relish the physicality was Tyrone's Peter Canavan.

Writing in the Irish Independent, Canavan recalled how representing Ireland alone made potential trials and tribulations all worthwhile:

It's said that players only like it because it's a junket but it was genuinely an honour to be selected to play alongside those players.

I have it down as a high point in my career.

Although Canavan was by no means a colossus in the mould of an Aidan O'Shea or Kieran Donaghy, he was by no means fazed with the physical battles that would inevitably ensue.


Having won the first two series he took part in, his third and final did unfortunately end on a sour note:

I remember we went off at half-time in Croke Park and they were well on top. As we walked into the dressing room under the Cusack Stand, the Aussie boys had waited for us.

They started mouthing, letting us know they were on top. They had clearly been stung by being beaten by the amateurs in the previous two years and they were going all out to win.

Like Cooper after him, Canavan was the subject of special attention from some of Australia's more ruthless practitioners.

Writing of his on-field battle with Jason Akermanis. With the Australian taking it 'upon himself to do a marking job that day by any means necessary', Canavan recalls taking exception to this, leading to both men being sent off in the end.

A little hesitant that some retribution may be on the cards in the post-match function, Canavan detailed a potentially worrying moment:


The clearest memory I have of that whole episode is the post-match function later that night where the players were left to mix freely.

I saw one of their big fellas, he must have been 6'7", making a beeline for me from across the room. He looked menacing as he approached with a bottle of beer in his hand.

I was wishing it was Darren Fay beside me rather than Ja Fallon! Anyway, he arrived over and he just stuck out his hand and said: 'It looks like you broke [Akermanis's] nose ... fair play mate.'

Some tough opponents indeed then.

Beyond these elements of the series, Canavan also explored the manner in which he, and Tyrone generally, learned some subtle tactical tweaks from their professional opponents.

You can read the full article here.


See Also: In Pictures: GAA Players Play Volleyball On The Beach In Australia

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