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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 24 May, 2018

Westmeath could lose one of their brightest stars as Connellan heads to Australia

The 21-year-old is spending a month on trial with St Kilda.

Connellan impressed at the Europe Combine last December.
Connellan impressed at the Europe Combine last December.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WESTMEATH WILL BE without Ray Connellan for their Leinster SFC clash against Offaly next month after the forward departed for Australia this week.

The Athlone youngster will initially spend a month Down Under with St Kilda as he looks to secure an AFL Premiership contract.

Connellan, who was part of the Ireland panel for the International Rules Test against Australia last November, impressed AFL scouts, including Tadhg Kennelly, at the Europe combine in DCU before Christmas.

He was rewarded with a trip to Florida earlier this year and will now look to catch the eye during a trial period in Victoria with the Saints.

Speaking to local radio station, Midlands 103, before he left, Connellan said he brought an Aussie Rules football home with him from Florida to be ready for this opportunity.

“There’s no young guy growing up who doesn’t want to be a pro,” the 21-year-old said.

“That’s why the week was unbelievable with the Academy – you wake up, eat, train, eat, sleep and do it all over again.

“A lot of the recruiters have asked me if I’d be willing to move over to Australia to finish my degree and play some lower league football.

“If I’m going to invest my time I may as well do it properly and do everything I can to get to the top level. At 21 this might be my last shot at it so I’d be pretty keen to do anything to make it happen.”

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