AFL giants Hawthorn have recruited Westmeath GAA and Ireland rugby prospect, Fionn O’Hara.
O’Hara has played minor footballers for the Lakesiders while also lining out for the U18s at international level with the oval ball, and with Leinster U20s earlier this year.
He now turns his hands to another oval ball, at a club that already includes Conor Nash, who himself was a rugby prospect as part of the Leinster academy, as well as a bright prospect for Meath’s footballers.
O’Hara has signed a regulation two-year international category B rookie contract.
Like Ultan Kelm, the Fermanagh man who joined Fremantle last week, the St Loman’s athlete, who played club rugby for Mullingar, has had to be patient with Covid-19 delaying the move Down Under.
He was in Melbourne to meet with Hawks’ recruitment staff in January 2020 and made a good impression but the coronavirus pandemic delayed any formal decision until now.
Hawthorn recruiting boss, Mark McKenzie said O'Hara is expected to join the team at Waverley Park in early 2022.
"We're rapt to be able to bring Fionn on board after having our eye on him for three years," McKenzie said.
"Over the course of the time we've got to know him, we've found him to be a really high-level character with a great work ethic and a real understanding of professionalism having had that experience in those elite pathways.
"He has worked hard already to hone his AFL skills, so he's already developed some strong kicking skills coupled with being a good decision maker with ball in hand as well.
"We expect him to enter the program early in the new year.
"Fionn actually visited the club in early 2020 and spent some time in Melbourne throughout that period along with his family," McKenzie added.
"So, he already knows a bit about the city as well as the standards and expectations of being a professional footballer, so that should help him with his transition across to Australia."