Koroit to get a kick out of Gaelic footy

PAST Koroit footballers will dust off their football boots for a one-off Gaelic game on Sunday.

The Koroit Irish Festival initiative will pit the Saints’ stars of yesteryear against the Sinn Feinn Ladies, Melbourne’s premier Gaelic football team.

Koroit coach Mark Bowman said he hoped the game at Victoria Park would draw a large crowd.

The Saints will take a 25-player squad into the showcase contest, with a 10-man bench “in case we have a few hamstring and calf injuries”.

“We call it Koroit All-Stars, or Old-Stars,” Bowman said.

“We have ex-Maskell medallists, multiple best and fairest winners — some really good Koroit legends playing.

“Brendan Dobson is a five-time best and fairest for Koroit. He’s the fittest 50-year-old in Warrnambool.

“Mick Daley’s our own Aaron Sandilands and Koroit legend ‘Bush Rat’ John Bushell has been seen running the road as well.”

The Koroit All-Stars also boasts premiership coaches Jason Mifsud and Andrew Foster, games record holder Damian Dobson and reigning Maskell medallist Ben Goodall.

Bowman said the team was expecting a fierce contest.

“They are an All-Irish side and they’re the best in Australia,” he said of Sinn Feinn Ladies.

“We’ll play four quarters and it will be a fast-moving game. It will be a lot of fun.

“We had a training run and we’ll have another one this week.

“I know the girls are super serious and they are really keen to knock us off.”

Bowman said the players’ knowledge of Gaelic football was limited.

The AFL plays a hybrid series with the Gaelic Athletic Association most years.

Gaelic football is still an amateur sport in Ireland, with many of its highly-rated players moving to Australia to play professionally in the AFL.

Retired Sydney premiership defender Tadhg Kennelly, Brisbane’s Pearce Hanley and Carlton’s Zach Tuohy are among the AFL’s Irish converts.

“Before the game we’re going to have a good going over with the umpires about the rules,” Bowman said.

“You get more points for kicking it through the soccer goals but there are goal posts as well.

“There is no tackling involved. It’s a free-flowing game.

“You still mark, kick and handball like AFL rules.”

The game will start at 1pm and entry is $5.

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