20 Irish players attended last weekend’s AFL Combine in Belfield.
SYDNEY SWANS, NORTH Melbourne and Essendon all had recruiters in attendance at last weekend’s AFL combine in Dublin with four young Irish prospects set to be brought to Australia next April at the NAB AFL Academy.
20 Gaelic footballers featured at last Saturday’s event in UCD as they sought to take a step towards embarking on an AFL career.
The eighth annual event saw 12 counties represented with former Down and Collingwood player Marty Clarke, an AFL Europe specialist coach, and AFL international talent manager Kevin Sheehan putting them through their paces.
The AFL’s official website reports that three clubs were in attendance and that Sheehan revealed four players will make the trip next April.
There are currently 14 Irish players on the books of AFL clubs with Dublin’s James Madden, Derry duo Anton Tohill and Callum Brown, Cork’s Mark Keane, Kerry’s Stefan Okunbor and Sligo’s Red Óg Murphy all signing new rookie deals recently.
“The Combine was a fantastic standard, and there’s no doubt they’re elite young athletes and footballers,” stated Sheehan.
“It was a great experience for the AFL clubs that were there and the boys that were there, and they adjusted well to the oval ball.
“We’ll bring four players out in April and they’ll join our NAB AFL Academy in Melbourne, so they’ll integrate with the Australian boys and be on display for the 18 clubs to have a good look at.
“I think it’s terrific that Kinnear Beatson (the Sydney Swans list and recruiting manager) was there overseeing the Combine because they’re an innovative club in looking at all angles of recruiting – Americans and Irish men,” Sheehan said.
“North Melbourne and Essendon also had scouts there, so a few clubs were getting in first to get a good look at these players.”
Out of the 20 prospects, it is reported that Sligo’s Luke Towey, Armagh’s Ross McQuillan, Kildare’s Mark Barrett and Clare’s Sean O’Donoghue all impressed in the various testing.
The 20 players who took part in UCD were:
Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne preview a big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.
Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud
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