Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The BBC UK Northern Ireland site reported this week that Martin Clarke will have a five week trial with an unnamed AFL club this July. We earlier reported that an Irish newspaper reported he had been offered a contract by the Brisbane Lions, but a further report in the Irish newssite Unison.ie (registration required) reveals that Collingwood are bringing him out to Australia in a few weeks.
Clarke will join the Collingwood squad and decide if he really wants to make the move. It is hoped that this will lessen the chances of a repeat of what happened with Brendan Quigley at Brisbane this year when him quickly becoming homesick and returning to Ireland. This is Collingwood’s first foray into the International recruiting market and may have stemmed from their poor showing last year after a couple of good years with lean draft picks, and looking for another way to bolster their list.
Clarke actually disputed that he had been offered a contract but did indicate that he is interested in the idea of heading to Australia and giving the oval ball game a shot. The talented 18 year old is one of the up and coming stars of the GAA with key roles in Down’s All Ireland minor championship last year and in the schools competition St Louis Kilkeel team that has been MacRory Cup finalists that last two years
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