Brisbane signs Irish footballer

Friday, July 22 2005 @ 09:20 pm ACST

Contributed by: Jake Anson

The Brisbane Lions have joined Carlton and Sydney in signing a Gaelic footballer, with County Tyrone player Sean Cavanagh agreeing to terms that will see him become an Australian footballer in 2006. Report from Jake Anson and Matt Guthrie.

The Melbourne Age reports that Cavanagh met with Lions officials in Dublin last week after being approached to switch codes by former Collingwood recruiting manager Gerard Sholly. reported in a previous article that the Lions had secured Sholly - Australia's leading authority on Irish footballers - with the intention of fast-tracking the signing of an international recruit.

Cavanagh will become the fourth Irishman on the playing list of an AFL club, joining former Kerryman and now Swans half-back Tadhg Kennelly and Carlton international rookies Aisake and Setanta O'hAilpin (both from Cork). A talented all-round sportsman, Cavanagh is a well known in the Emerald Isle for his exploits in Gaelic football, hurling and basketball. He has won All-Stars - hurling's highest individual honour - the past two years and is on course to pick up a third consecutive award. Cavanagh also played well in Ireland's international rules squad that defeated the All-Australian team in two Tests in 2004.

Currently, the 22-year-old midfielder is preparing for Saturday's Ulster final replay against Armagh. His departure could possibly infuriate sporting officials in Tyrone, who remain opposed to links with the AFL being fostered to the extent that they currently are by the Gaelic Athletic Association.

The Melbourne Age article about Cavanagh's signing can be viewed here.

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