Kennelly to run rule over future AFL stars

Two players who lined out in last year’s All-Ireland MFC final will be involved in an Easter training camp in London today aimed at making their transition from GAA to the AFL easier.

Kennelly to run rule over future AFL stars

The camp, set up by former Kerry player Tadhg Kennelly, will see Tyrone’s Conor McKenna and Mayo minor captain Stephen Coen join nine other Irish players on a European Legion team comprising players aged 17 to 25 years from Croatia, Denmark, England, Germany and Sweden.

The Irish players have pedigree with Armagh’s Ciarán O’Hanlon, who made his senior championship debut last year against Cavan, Tipperary underage starlet Colin O’Riordan, Killarney Legion’s Padraig Lucey and Galway minor sharpshooter Peter Cooke also trying out.

However, should they impress, Kildare will be hardest hit with four players taking part, of whom three have senior inter-county experience.

They will play an Australian squad packed with the best U18 players from the country on Saturday in front of scouts who will decide if they have a future in the game. The Australian teenagers will also be on trial as they are approaching draft age and 85% of them are expected to be professional in the AFL next year.

“We’re really looking forward to the week,” said Kennelly.

“Spending the time together to train alongside the best young players from Australia is a new and exciting opportunity. It’s going to accelerate their skills and show us who can handle the pressure best, not to mention the time the AFL club recruiters will get to watch and speak with them.

“The players will go back to their countries with a better idea of life as a professional athlete and they can share what they’ve learned with their team-mates. Long term it all helps to grow the game in Europe.”

Irish players: Ciarán O’Hanlon (Armagh), Colin O’Riordan (Tipperary), Conor McKenna (Tyrone), Daniel Flynn (Kildare), Luke Flynn (Kildare), Paddy Brophy (Kildare), Padraig Lucey (Kerry), Peter Cooke (Galway), Sean Hurley (Kildare), Shehroz Akram (Mayo) and Stephen Coen (Mayo).

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