The Irish Rover

International Rules

The Australian International Rules team that played the Irish, a testament to the Irish connection with AFL.

A humorous look at Irish Australian football legends, to the tune of "The Irish Rover".
Thanks to Phil Darby who made up the idea as a joke, on the bus to the Bach Celebration concert in Hamilton.

The history of white Australia is full of Irish-Australians, and so too is the history of Australian Rules Football. This song contains the names of some of the most famous, although there are many more unmentioned. For the benefit of those who don't understand Australian Rules Football: The "Rover", is the player that takes the ball when it is knocked free of the ruck. He is normally the smallest and fastest of the team. He also needs to be courageous and resilient as he is always outweighed by his opponents.

The point of this song that the title is a pun on the famous Irish song about a ship called "The Irish Rover". In the original song each member of the crew is named with a little character sketch, here it is each member of the team. The other verses also parallel the original, go read or listen to it to get the idea, the Pogues did a great version of it.

Interestingly the eponymous player is not named.
No doubt Australian readers can produce some theories as to whom it might be...

On the fourth of July, nineteen hundred and six,
We stepped out on the ground for a game.
Our team of eighteen, was the best ever seen,
The whole of them Irish by name.
At twenty to four, we had doubled their score,
By three quarter time it was over.
The smallest of all, had his name on the ball,
And we called him "The Irish Rover".

We had big Jimmy Stynes, who kicked only behinds,
There was Kelly, the backman from hell.
And the Daniher four, who kicked half the score,
And Pat & Mick Twomey as well.
There was Darren Millane, who got pissed on the train
O'Donnell, the famous on-baller.
And Sheedy, the man, who constructed the plan,
Was the coach of "The Irish Rover".

We had played seven years, when our knees all gave out,
And the goalposts were lost in a fog.
And the whole of the crew, was reduced down to two,
Just myself and the captain's old dog.
The dog gave a bark, and flew for a mark,
Then sent the pill home like a drover.
When we lifted the cup, the team all came up,
And the last was "The Irish Rover".

Warren Mars - September 2000