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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 1 April, 2020

AFL club state they cannot permit Kerry's O'Connor to play club GAA games as 'it's a breach to his contract'

Geelong’s Mark O’Connor featured for his club Dingle in a game last month.

Mark O'Connor in action for Geelong in the AFL in August.
Mark O'Connor in action for Geelong in the AFL in August.
Image: AAP/PA Images

KERRY’S MARK O’CONNOR is set to miss the remainder of his club Dingle’s county senior football championship campaign after his AFL side Geelong stated they cannot permit it as ‘it’s a breach to his contract’.

O’Connor returned home after the close of the 2018 AFL season and featured in Dingle’s county quarter-final win over Austin Stacks last month, playing a key role in that victory.

But the 2015 All-Ireland minor winning captain was not in action last Sunday in their drawn semi-final against East Kerry in Tralee, with a replay in store between the teams next Sunday.

The AFL website has reported that Geelong were unaware of his participation until after the Kerry quarter-final, prompting them to contact O’Connor.

“It was down to the risk of injury which would then compromise his ability to play and train for Geelong,” the club’s head of football Simon Lloyd told the AFL website.

“We (told Mark we) cannot provide permission for you to play in further Gaelic football games as it’s a breach to his contract.”

“To Mark’s credit, he acknowledged Geelong was his main priority and that he wouldn’t do it again.”

Mark O'Connor lifts the cup Mark O'Connor captained Kerry to the 2015 All-Ireland minor football title. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

O’Connor had emerged strongly for Geelong at the end of the season, featuring in their last four outings before their campaign ended with a loss to Melbourne in the first elimination final of the 2018 final series.

He emerged strongly for Kerry in underage football ranks, winning All-Ireland minor medals with the county in 2014 and 2015, along with securing Hogan Cup honours with his school PS Chorca Dhuibhne in both those years.

Then in October 2016, O’Connor signed for Geelong after impressing during the AFL Draft Combine and he made his full AFL debut for the club in May 2017.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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