AFL sides chasing young Ulster duo

TOMMY WALSH may not be the last Irish man to join the AFL this year with another Australian club chasing two exciting Ulster talents.

Down ace Jamie O’Reilly is on the brink of signing for AFL side Richmond Tigers while the club have also stepped up their pursuit of Antrim’s Tomás McCann.

O’Reilly met with controversial Australian player agent Ricky Nixon this week and admits his move is almost ‘a done deal.’

He said: ‘Although I haven’t put pen to paper, after speaking with Ricky (Nixon), I will sign for Richmond. It’s almost a done deal. I just need to get my university arrangements sorted out, out there.’’

O’Reilly, 21, revealed he has spoken to new county boss James McCartan about the move.

‘‘I had a chat with James and he was very supportive about my move and said that I would be welcome back into the Down fold at any time in the future.”

Meanwhile, Antrim’s hopes of building on their superb season of 2009 could be dealt a blow following the news that McCann has been offered a trial. The Saffrons have already lost the services of Portglenone’s Niall McKeever. He has signed a two-year international rookie contract with the Brisbane Lions.

However it isn’t all one way traffic to Australia with the news Colm Begley has quit AFL after four years.

Begley was offered a new one year deal with Melbourne side St Kilda but, has decided to reject a new contract in exchange for a place with the Laois football panel.

The Stradbally native joined Brisbane Lions in 2005 where he played 29 games and also was named Rookie of the Year in 2007.

However, the Lions then decided not to offer Begley a new contract after an injury-hit 2008 campaign.

He then moved to St Kilda in the AFL draft but only made a single competitive appearance for the beaten Grand Finalists. His return to the Laois colours is set to be in the O’Byrne Cup against DIT.


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