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Cork and Derry youngsters make move to AFL as they are signed by Collingwood

Mark Keane and Anton Tohill are making the move to Collingwood.

CORK’S MARK KEANE and Derry’s Anton Tohill have become the latest Irish players to make the move to Aussie Rules after Collingwood confirmed they have signed the duo.

pjimage (1) Derry's Anton Tohill and Cork's Mark Keane are heading to Melbourne. Source: INPHO

The Melbourne-based club announced the recruit of the duo who had been heavily linked with a move to Australia for some time.

Mitchelstown club man Keane was part of the Cork U20 side that contested this summer’s EirGrid Munster final against Kerry while Swatragh’s Tohill, the son of Derry All-Ireland winning great Anthony, was part of his county’s U20 squad that claimed Ulster honours.

The pair both attended an international AFL Academy in Florida last January and the AFL Combine that was held in UCD last December. They have come under the guidance of former Down footballer and Collingwood player Marty Clarke in recent months as well. Clarke made 73 AFL appearances for Collingwood during two stints with the club.

At the recent AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne, Keane finished second in the goal kicking test while Tohill was 12th in the overall kick testing. Their signings follows on from the recruitment of young Dublin footballer James Madden by the Brisbane Lions in October.

Michael Cahill with James Madden James Madden in action for the Dublin U20 side against Longford this summer. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The announcement also comes just a day after the return home of two Irish players was revealed with Galway’s Cillian McDaid and Louth’s Ciaran Byrne both departing Carlton.

“Mark and Anton will really add to our developing key position depth,” said Collingwood national recruiting manager Derek Hine.

Mark Keane and Anton Tohill Mark Keane and Anton Tohill at last year's AFL Combine in UCD. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“They are different to each other in the manner in which they play. Anton has the makings of a tall utility who will be capable at both ends of the ground, with the potential to play minutes in the ruck.

“Mark is very strong overhead and has natural game sense. We can see him playing as a key forward or key defender.”

The duo will join the club next month ahead of the commencement of pre-season training before the 2019 campaign will start next March. Collingwood contested the AFL Grand Final this year, losing out 79-74 last month against West Coast Eagles.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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