Kennelly runs rule over AFL prospects
A number of young talented GAA stars are being put through their paces at a two-day Australian Rules trial at DCU this week.
Tadhg Kennelly, an AFL Premiership winner with Sydney Swans in 2005, is overseeing the Combine event in Dublin which is being run by AFL Europe yesterday and today.
The players - 24 in all from Ireland and the UK - are undergoing tests for agility, vertical jump, endurance, speed and skills. Kennelly said that the Combine 'looks for athletes and footballers with athletic prowess with the skill to potentially play Aussie Rules'.
The organisers are hoping to source players from this part of the world for the 2013 AFL Draft Combine which will take place in Melbourne in October. Derry's Emmett Bradley from Derry and Sean Hurley from Kildare were selected for the Melbourne Combine last year.
Among the players taking part at DCU this week are five members of Dublin's 2012 All-Ireland minor winning team, including recent Allianz League debutants Cormac Costello and Shane Carthy.
Kildare senior players Daniel Flynn and Paddy Brophy are also involved along with emerging Cork defender Damian Cahalane and impressive northern youngsters such as Ethan Rafferty from Armagh and Antrim's James Laverty.
Kennelly, who is an international ambassador for the AFL, is pleased with the talent assembled but admitted that another of the prodigious Dublin contingent, Jack McCaffrey, turned down an opportunity to participate for the second year running.
"Jack came last year, we saw a lot of potential in him and it's his preference (not to go further)," said the Kerry native.
"Jack McCaffrey ran a 2.8 for a 20-metre sprint. It blows them out of the water in Australia straight away. It's a thing that clubs can look at and say, 'there is freaky talent in Ireland'.
"They're not just footballers, they're athletes as well. It's not just Gaelic footballers we're looking for."
AFL Trial Players: Cormac Costello, Gavin Burke, Shane Carthy, Eric Lowndes, Niall Scully (all Dublin); Paddy Brophy, Daniel Flynn (both Kildare), Damien Cahalane (Cork); Bill Maher, Philip Quirke, Steven O'Brien (all Tipperary); James Laverty (Antrim); Conor Carville, Niall Grimley (both Derry); Shane Walsh (Galway); Ronan Daly (Roscommon); Che Cullen, Lee Cullen (both Fermanagh); Adam Gallagher (Mayo); Ethan Rafferty (Armagh); Hugh McFadden (Donegal); Padraig Lucey (Kerry); Cameron Cope (Wolverhampton); Ger Leech (Westmeath).