Kerry starlet signs rookie contract with AFL club

Mark O'Connor won Minor All-Irelands with the Kingdom

BY Raf Diallo 15:23 Tuesday 18 October 2016, 15:23 18 Oct 2016

Kerry captain Mark O'Connor lifts the cup ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

A key member of Kerry's recent All-Ireland Minor championship victories has signed a rookie contract with AFL club Geelong.

Mark O'Connor was part of the Kingdom sides who won All-Ireland Minor titles in 2014 and 2015, captaining the team in the latter final as they defeated Tipperary 4-14 to 0-6.

North Melbourne and Melbourne were also believed to have been interested in signing O'Connor.

But ultimately it was Geelong who have acquired the Dingle native's signature as confirmed by the 19-year-old.

"I’ve made the decision to go to Geelong. It’s a very quiet place, like Dingle, and I was very comfortable there. I was really taken with Geelong. When I went in there everyone was very friendly, and I felt at home there," he told  Radio na Gaeltachta.

He has been given an initial two-year contract.

He will join a number of Irish former Gaelic footballers who are plying their trade in the AFL.

Laois native Zach Tuohy is at Carlton, ex-Mayo footballer Pearce Hanley plays for Gold Coast after an eight-year spell at Brisbane Lions, while former Tyrone minor Conor McKenna joined Essendon in 2015.

In recent years, Colm Begley (Laois), Tadhg Kennelly (Kerry) and Tommy Walsh (Kerry) have spent time in the AFL.




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