Two young GAA stars land AFL contracts

Two more young Gaelic footballers are set to leave these shores to pursue a professional career in Aussie Rules.

Two young GAA stars land AFL contracts

By Peter O'Dwyer

Two more young Gaelic footballers are set to leave these shores to pursue a professional career in Aussie Rules.

Kildare corner-forward Paddy Brophy has signed a two-year international rookie contract with Perth-based West Coast Eagles having impressed AFL scouts while Tyrone starlet Conor McKenna is also to make the move Down Under.

Melbourne club Essendon have snapped the 18-year-old Tyrone minor midfielder up as part of their Rookie B list with Tadgh Kennelly involved in finalising the move along with talent scout Kevin Sheehan.

Twenty-year-old Brophy spent three days in Perth on his way to the Combine, where he took the opportunity to have a look around the club's facilities before deciding on the Eagles as his destination of choice.

The Kildare attacker struggled somewhat with injury this year but recovered to take his place in the forward-line for qualifier defeat to Monaghan in August.

Brophy's move makes him the third young Lilywhites player to make the move Down Under recently, following Sean Hurley and Daniel Flynn who have joined Freemantle and Port Adelaide respectively.

A statement posted on the club's website from Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro identified McKenna's pace, physique and attitude as contributory factors in the move.

"We are thrilled Conor has taken the opportunity are thrilled Conor has taken the opportunity to join the Essendon Football Club under our Alternative Talent Programme.

"We were one of the two clubs to attend the Irish Combine in December last year, and we were immediately impressed with Conor's talents.

"He has exceptional speed and endurance and he has a strong desire to be a professional footballer.

"His athletic profile is elite and while there is a long way to go, we really feel that Conor has the attributes to become a successful AFL player."

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