">

'The aim is to win the All-Ireland' - Cathal McShane explains Aussie Rules snub

All-Star full-forward Cathal McShane has revealed his decision to knock back an AFL contract and to continue his quest for an All-Ireland with Tyrone was a tough call that came "down to the wire".

'The aim is to win the All-Ireland' - Cathal McShane explains Aussie Rules snub

All-Star full-forward Cathal McShane has revealed his decision to knock back an AFL contract and to continue his quest for an All-Ireland with Tyrone was a tough call that came "down to the wire".

The powerful 24-year-old was back in training with Mickey Harte's side tonight following a 10-day trial with Aussie Rules side Adelaide Crows.

Speaking to BBC TV's Newsline, McShane said he "really enjoyed" the experience and felt he did 'really well when I was out there' but ultimately decided to stay at home for a mixture of personal and sporting reasons.

He has secured employment with a Cookstown based company, a development he described as "a big deciding factor in me staying" while he also has his heart set on All-Ireland success with Tyrone.

"The game was a new experience for me," said McShane of his Aussie Rules trial. "The boys out there were really welcoming and the club made me feel very welcome but once I came back to Ireland I knew I had to weigh up my options and I had to see what was the best for me going forward and for my future.

I think the aim obviously is you want to win the All-Ireland, that's the top aim that I would have in my career. I know we're well capable of that.

"Going forward now it's about working hard and giving ourselves the best opportunity to do that. The opportunity out in Australia was pleasing but I feel that I've made the right decision and I can't wait now to get back in the swing of things with Tyrone."

Asked how close he came to actually signing a professional contract and switching to the oval ball game, McShane admitted he had to think long and hard.

"It was very close in terms of...obviously there's deadlines for decisions and I was...it did come down to the wire in terms of the last day where I had to make my decision," he said.

"But I knew what I wanted to do, make sure I made the right decision, and I feel that I have. I feel that I've good opportunities now on the field and off the field going forward."

McShane is expected to feature for the Red Hands against Kerry in Sunday's glamour Allianz League Division 1 game.

It's a huge boost to the county's prospects of not just winning that game but of going one better than their 2018 All-Ireland final defeat.

Boss Harte was adamant from an early stage that McShane should not leave the GAA, arguing that the opportunities for development at home were just as good.

"I'd been talking to him regularly since he came home," explained Harte. "It did look like he could be on his way.

"It was a good enough deal that he had out there. He was happy with it. We couldn't be stopping him. We just wished he wouldn't go.

We believed we could give him something just as good at home here.

Harte, who is seeking to guide Tyrone to a fourth All-Ireland success, said he never lost faith that McShane would stay in Ireland.

"As long as he hadn't signed anything to say for sure he was going, then I'm kind of the optimistic sort of person that I believed everything was possible, that he would still stay," said Harte.

"Really good news for Tyrone football and really good news for everyone connected with the GAA in Tyrone."

The spotlight on McShane in recent weeks and flirtation with a professional career will naturally increase the pressure on him to perform in 2020 and to back up last year's heroics.

The Owen Roe O'Neill's club-man finished as the Championship's top scorer and the new advanced mark rule should suit his strong fielding ability.

"He's a serious player with serious ability and I think he will be able to show that (2019) wasn't a flash in the pan," said Harte.

Asked about exactly how big a part he played in convincing McShane to stay, Harte said it was 'peripheral'. According to the BBC Sport website, the player himself pointed more to the influence of former county U-21 manager Feargal Logan and Club Tyrone's Jackie Duffy.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.