AFL champion Mark O'Connor granted permission to play in Kerry county championship

The Dingle club man will be able to play in the quarter-final against Dr Crokes.

Image: AAP/PA Images

AFL PREMIERSHIP CHAMPION Mark O’Connor has permission to play for his club Dingle in the Kerry county senior championship quarter-final.

Last week O’Connor and Portlaoise’s Zach Tuohy were involved as Geelong cruised to Grand Final victory against Sydney Swans. They joined Tadhg Kennelly as the only Irishmen to win an AFL Premiership. 

Speaking to The42, a Geelong spokesperson confirmed O’Connor has permission to play once he heads home later this week. The all-club clash between Dr Crokes and Dingle, a repeat of the 2018 Kerry decider, is fixed for 8 October at Austin Stack Park. 

Two-time All-Ireland minor winner O’Connor apologised to the Cats in 2018 after lining out for Dingle in their quarter-final win over Austin Stacks without permission. 

He received clearance in 2020 to play for Kerry but was in quarantine and missed out after their shock loss against Cork. In 2021, he was unable to play Gaelic football during the AFL off-season due to a knee injury. 

In recent years, AFL clubs have adopted a different approach and allowed Irish players to return to Gaelic football during the off-season. Cork’s Mark Keane, Tipperary’s Colin O’Riordan and Meath’s Cian McBride were all allowed to play for their county in 2020.

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McBride, who has spent the past three years with Essendon, has also played for his club St Ultan’s in 2021 and 2022. 

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