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Conor McManus and Joe Kernan pictured ahead of the First Test.

Conor McManus and Joe Kernan pictured ahead of the First Test.

McManus excited by International Rules challenge

By Cian O’Connell

Busy preparing for his fourth International Rules Series Conor McManus is completely aware of what is necessary to succeed in the game.

That is why the prolific Monaghan forward is adamant that Ireland need to execute the basic skills of Gaelic Football in Adelaide and Perth against Australia.

“The tackle is something we are not accustomed to in our game; we could spend all our time focusing on it, trying to get better at it, to learn that, but then you'd probably not be focusing on what we are good at,” McManus says.

“The biggest challenge for us is executing our skills as best we can. If we are to win the Two Test series it will be doing what we do well in our own game in Gaelic Football. Kicking, catching, taking a mark, honing in on the skills of the game. If we can execute them we will be hard enough to stop.”

How critical will goals, which carry a six point value in International Rules, be? “Six pointers are important,” McManus admits. “In our game we have goals in GAA which gives us an advantage, but if we can keep kicking overs and focus on that getting five or six a quarter, that will be a hard tally to stop.”

Joe Kernan’s charges are relishing the opportunity to perform in the Two Test series now. “It has been good so far, we have been here nearly a week, the boys have settled in well  and we have a fair bit of training done,” McManus adds. “The boys are acclimatising to the heat because it has been quite warm since we came to Adelaide. We are very much looking forward to it.

“We met over two months ago so it is a fairly long time for most of the boys, who wouldn't have missed many of them sessions. It has been a long time coming. We are on the cusp of it now, we are very much looking forward to it.

“Being down here and we were at an event on Wednesday night with Irish people there. They were so happy to see us down, talking to different people from different parts of Ireland, they were very much rooting for us. It gives them something to cling to being so far away from home.”

Producing a solid performance in the opening encounter is vital according to McManus. “That is very much the challenge for us.

“The Aussies are at home, they have a strong panel, we have a good squad, we have a lot of young guys, who haven't played before. So the challenge for us is to hit the ground running and be in contention after the First Test.”

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