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18-year-old Derry football star Callum Brown signs AFL deal with Sydney club

The Limavady man played a big role in his county’s run to the U20 All-Ireland football semi-final this year.

Derry's Callum Brown with Mayo's Brian O'Malley and John Cunnane during the U20 All-Ireland semi-final this summer.
Derry's Callum Brown with Mayo's Brian O'Malley and John Cunnane during the U20 All-Ireland semi-final this summer.
Image: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

THE GREATER WESTERN Sydney Giants have signed up Derry U20 starlet Callum Brown on a rookie contract for the 2019 season.

The 18-year-old Limavady man was a core element of the Oak Leaf county’s side as they reached the All-Ireland U20 football semi-finals this summer and follows in the footsteps of Dublin’s James Madden, Derry’s Anton Tohill and Cork’s Mark Keane in making the move Down Under to the AFL.

Brown, who was also on the books with Linfield FC, made an impression during his two-week visit to Sydney in August and will begin training with the Giants on 19 November.

“It’s fantastic we were lucky enough to secure Callum,” said Giants head coach Leon Cameron.

“He’s a powerful athlete, great speed and his skill in the Gaelic game is outstanding. For the short period of time he was out here during our season this year you could clearly see he could pick up the use of the Australian Rules football.”

Finn McIlroy and Daniel Guinness with Callum Brown Brown in action against Down in the Ulster U20 semi-final this summer. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Cameron added that former Giants defence coach Nick Walsh, originally from Cavan, played a key role in developing a recruiting programme in Ireland. The move for Brown represents a first foray into the Irish talent pool for men’s team, though Cora Staunton and Donegal’s Yvonne Bonner are signed up for the Giants’ AFLW team. 

“We understand that these things take time,” says Cameron, “we need to have patience, (as do) the supporters.

“He’s not going to be ready to play in round one, it just doesn’t work that way. But what we see and the athleticism this young guy has got, we’re really excited to put it to the test and see if he can transfer that Gaelic game into AFL footy.”

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Sean Farrell

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