Drafts were held in DCU on Tuesday last for 24 young men in an attempt to recruit emerging talent to the Australian Football League.
All-Ireland medal winner with Kerry and former AFL player Tadgh Kennelly, along with European general manager Ben McCormack, spearheaded the try-outs. Scouts from several teams cast an eye on proceedings and McCormack expressed his excitement about being involved with the 2nd international combine.
“We’re continually in contact with the GAA, trying to work with them as closely as much as our programmes permit.”
McCormack added that there was absolutely no animosity between the two organisations.
“We definitely aren’t here to step on toes or damage any relationship between the AFL and GAA, the complete opposite.”
Kennelly briefly spoke of Ciaran Kilkenny, highlighting the importance of keeping the international players in Australia once they have been sent over.
“If you are going to be spending resources and money trying to get talent out to Australia, you’ve got to try and spend money in keeping them there.”
He said that a lot of problems arise from clubs not being set up for international footballers because they’ve simply never had them before. He emphasized the importance of making sure the players had regular contact with home.
“The quicker we get it in place, the less likelihood we’re going to have more Ciaran Kilkenny’s coming home. It’s not going to stop it but it’s going to try and help the situation. It’s a difficult thing.”
The Dublin dual star made headlines last year after signing a contract with an Australian team and returning home after just five weeks.
Caoimhe Ni Loinsigh