Bombers boost as mighty Quinn hits his stride

MICHAEL QUINN will become the fourth Irishman to feature in the Australian Rules top flight this season after the Longford man was named in the Essendon team for tomorrow’s trip to Adelaide.

The 20-year-old became a sensation last season after a rapid conversion to the sport, making his Premiership debut just two rounds into the season.

Quinn went on to make six senior appearances in all for the Bombers last year but has had to bide his time this season due to injury. However the former Longford minor has been in scintillating form for the Dons’ reserves Bendigo over the past few weeks.

Much like fellow Irishman Setanta O hAilpín, a move from defence to attack lit the spark for Quinn, who scored 12 goals in the second-tier VFL this term. He will however revert to his former role and play right half-back against the Crows at the AAMI Stadium and will join O hAilpín, Tadhg Kennelly and Mayo tyro Pearce Hanley at the Brisbane Lions as the fourth exile to grace the biggest stage.

O hAilpín yesterday grabbed his 26th goal of a stunning campaign to equal Jim Stynes for the most goals in a season by an Irishman.

The forward, now in his fifth season in the sport, left it late to grab his a six-pointer that his all action, all-round play had merited as his Carlton Blues side scored an emphatic 120-65 win over the Brisbane Lions in Melbourne.

O hAilpín pounced with just 10 minutes to go in a physical encounter at the Etihad Stadium, claiming a superb mark and converting from close range as the Blues bounced back from two straight defeats to move up to fifth in the table. Tying Stynes’ 1988 tally, O hAilpín had 14 disposals in all, claiming five marks in a display that again impressed the experts.

“He’s never going to be an A-grader but he looks like being one of the best B-graders around,” said legendary former Carlton player and coach Robert Walls. “If the Blues can keep him in this form and improving, then they will have a key forward for the next three or four years.”

Kennelly meantime will return from a knee injury after yesterday being named in the Swans line-up for the Sunday showdown with basement boys Richmond at the MCG.

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