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Kilkenny All-Ireland winning hurling captain Joyce to make AFL debut

A great achievement for the St Kilda 21-year-old.

KILKENNY ALL-IRELAND WINNING captain Darragh Joyce will make his AFL debut this Sunday as his St Kilda side face Melbourne.

Joyce, who skippered the Cats to All-Ireland minor hurling glory in 2014, was named in the extended St Kilda squad yesterday for their Round 15 tie at the MCG.

Selected amongst eight interchange players with four to be omitted as the final squad was announced today, the Rower-Inistioge clubman made the cut and secured his start.

“In exciting news for Saints fans, Darragh Joyce’s years’ worth of hard work have paid off as the Irishman runs out in the red, white and black for the first time on Sunday,” the team news statement reads.

“Joyce earns his debut on the back of a string of impressive VFL performances, and the 21-year-old 194cm defender comes in for the omitted Logan Austin.”

Darragh Joyce lifts the cup Lifting the title in 2014. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The debut comes as a major Aussie Rules breakthrough for Joyce, who has been in action of late for St Kilda’s reserve team Sandringham in the Victorian Football League.

“It’s all paying off,” he told saints.com.au, adding that his Mam was making the trip over to watch.

“It’s been a big journey for me, so to get here, there’s been a lot of hard work over the last year, but hopefully it’s the first of many.”

Darragh Joyce Joyce linked up with St Kilda in 2016. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Having not played Gaelic football at club level, Joyce caught the eye of AFL scouts in action with his school, was soon invited for trials and interest from Melbourne-based St Kilda’s emerged at the 2015 AFL Draft combine.

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He moved to Australia in October 2016, and has worked his way through the ranks successfully since then.

- Originally published at 09.55 

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Kilkenny hurling, Wexford schools football and now an Aussie Rules life in Melbourne

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Emma Duffy

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