Blow for Lake men as Heslin Oz bound

ONE of the brightest young talents in the GAA has accepted a two-year contract with an Aussie Rules club.

Westmeath’s John Heslin is believed to have joined new Melbourne franchise Gold Coast Suns but is remaining tight lipped until it is officially announced.

“I am obviously going to miss my friends and playing with the people I have grown up with, but I have to take the chance while it’s there,” he said.

“These opportunities don’t come along too often, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

He flew out to Melbourne for a trial last week and knew he was making the right choice with the allure of professional sport appealing to thesecond year student.

“It was a great experience to go out there and learn the different aspects to a professional game. I mean I try to be as professional as I can be myself here anyway, watching what I eat and how I train.”

His loss will be a huge blow to Westmeath. The St Loman’s clubman from Mullingar played a starring role in the county’s march to last year’s Leinster U21 final. During UCD’s Sigerson Cup campaign he stood out as one to watch and this is where he was spotted by the Aussie scouts.

The 18-year-old didn’t start for the U21 side during Wednesday night’s loss to Longford following a four-week suspension. He came on before the break but was sent-off 11 minutes from time.

However, he is hoping senior manager Pat Flanagan will keep him in mind for the coming championship campaign.

“I’m hoping to get a run in the championship with the seniors this year just to make sure I’m not missing out on anything.”

Meanwhile, Australian Rules recruiter Ricky Nixon has been suspended from holding a licence as a player agent for two years following allegations surrounding his dealings with a 17-year-old girl.

Nixon, who has been recruiting in Ireland for the past three seasons and was responsible for bringing Tommy Walsh to St Kilda, is under police investigation.

She claimed Nixon had approached her after she had posted photos online of Walsh’s St Kilda team-mates and herself.

“The board has found that Ricky has in recent times made serious errors of judgement, which warrant a serious response,” said AFLPA agentaccreditation board chairman Ian Prendergast.

Nixon’s lawyer Rod Lamplugh said his client felt the penalty was “excessive” and did not take into account his “significant contribution” to the AFL and agents’ sector.

Meanwhile Portlaoise has been confirmed as the venue for the Leinster U21 football final. The tie will take place on Wednesday, April 6 at 7.45pm.

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