big step

Westmeath's Connellan set for Aussie Rules debut with St Kilda on Friday night

Connellan has been picked on the squad for the inaugural AFLX tournament.

WESTMEATH’S RAY CONNELLAN will make his Aussie Rules debut for St Kilda on Friday night as part of the inaugural AFLX tournament with the Melbourne-based club stepping up their pre-season preparations ahead of the start of the 2018 AFL campaign in March.

Ray Connellan Ray Connellan in action for Westmeath against Dublin in the 2016 Leinster semi-final. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Connellan has been selected for Friday night’s matches in the new modified game which will see Aussie Rules players competing on a smaller field in matches of shorter duration.

St Kilda take on Essendon and Hawthorn in Pool B clashes at the Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

It’s great news for Connellan in his second year with St Kilda after spending the 2017 season lining out for their affiliate club Sandringham in the Victorian Football League.

23-year-old Connellan initially caught the eye at the AFL Europe Talent Combine trials in DCU in 2015 before signing a two-year contract with St Kilda in July 2016.

Kilkenny hurler Darragh Joyce, who impressed at schools football level with Wexford’s Good Counsel in New Ross, signed at the same time for St Kilda.

Athlone club man Connellan, who first joined the Westmeath senior squad as a teenager, suffered a double leg break in the 2016 Leinster senior semi-final against Dublin. He moved later that year to Melbourne during his recovery and embarked on an Aussie Rules career.

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