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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019

Another young Kerry footballer is set to switch to Aussie Rules with Geelong poised to make signing

Stefan Okunbor is poised to join the AFL club.

Stefan Okunbor lined out for the Kerry U20 side this year.
Stefan Okunbor lined out for the Kerry U20 side this year.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

KERRY IS SET to lose another emerging Gaelic football talent to Aussie Rules with Stefan Okunbor, the EirGrid Munster U20 Player of the Year this season, in line to make the move to Australia.

AFL club Geelong Cats are poised to sign Okunbor on a two-year international rookie contract. The move would see Okunbor join another Kerry player, Dingle’s Mark O’Connor, at the club and Laois player Zach Tuohy, an established figure in their ranks.

Okunbor, who plays at club level with the Tralee side Na Gaeil, won an All-Ireland minor medal with Kerry in 2016 when they defeated Galway in the final. He came on as a substitute in that game and emerged strongly for Jack O’Connor’s U20 side at full-back this year.

His performances drew recognition with the man-of-the-match award in the Munster final win over Cork in late June, the individual provincial honour and a place on the EirGrid 20 U20s end of season list.

Stefan Okunbor Stefan Okunbor receives the man-of-the-match award after the Munster final. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The Na Gaeil Club released a statement, confirming the impending move.

“We wish to confirm that Stefan Okunbor has signed for AFL Club Geelong on a two-year contract. Stefan has been one of the stars of our senior team over the past few years as well as an underage star for the club all the way up the various age groups.

“He was exemplary both on and off the field and a role model for all in the club. While we are very sad to be losing such an outstanding talent we wish Stefan all the best from all in the Na Gaeil Club.

“We hope he makes it in the AFL but if he decides to return at any stage, the club will welcome him back with open arms. He has been a shining light in our club and while his team-mates will miss him on and off the pitch, he is embarking on an exciting adventure in professional sport and he carries all our best wishes and we are sure, also the good wishes of all in Kerry GAA”

The news comes on the back of a busy few days of movement involving Irish players in the AFL.  Louth’s Ciaran Byrne and Galway’s Cillian McDaid both announced their retirement from the sport on Monday, bringing an end to their spells with Carlton. Then yesterday Collingwood confirmed the signing of youngsters in Cork’s Mark Keane and Derry’s Anton Tohill.

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About the author:

Murt Murphy

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