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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Kilkenny hurler and Westmeath footballer signed up by AFL club

Darragh Joyce and Ray Connellan are the latest players to leave Ireland for Australia after accepting two-year deals with St Kilda.

Joyce at the AFL Europe Talent Combine Trials in DCU last year.
Joyce at the AFL Europe Talent Combine Trials in DCU last year.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

TWO MORE YOUNG Irish athletes have headed Down Under and swapped Gaelic games for Australian Rules football.

After impressing during the AFL Europe Talent Combine trials in DCU last year, Kilkenny hurler Darragh Joyce and Westmeath footballer Ray Connellan have signed two-year contracts with Melbourne club St Kilda, according to a report from Australian newspaper The Age.

Joyce, the younger brother of Kilkenny senior hurler Kieran, captained the Cats to an All-Ireland minor title in 2014.

Athlone clubman Connellan, a senior player with the Lake County, recently suffered a double leg break in the recent Leinster SFC final against Dublin. 

Ray Connellan Connellan in action at Croke Park earlier this year. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

However, the injury hasn’t scuppered the 22-year-old’s chances of switching codes and both could make the move as early as next month.

“Our strategy from mid-2013 has been to increase our talent base through different means,” St Kilda recruiting boss Tony Elshaug said. ”We hope these boys could play a significant part in that.”

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Ben Blake

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