Down wonder to play down under
Saturday, August 05 2006 @ 12:04 pm ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
It is believed that Irish wonderkid Martin Clarke has signed with the Collingwood Football Club. Clarke has been in Australia for the last four weeks to assess the possible move and the club, and for the Magpies to assess the young Gaelic star.
Clarke's signing was reported today on the Irsih Hoganstand.com website. Clarke is currently on his way back to Ireland to play next week and make final preparations to head back to Australia to start his professional career in his new sport. The Pies have been going through a successful period this year and spending time in that environment, along with the impressive facilities at the lavish Lexus Centre have been enough to convince Clarke to sign on. Neil Balme, Collingwood's Football Operations Manager was very coy about the youngster last week when asked about Clarke (especially with the youngster effectively available to the first club to sign him on the dotted line) saying only that 'we're having a look at him and he's having a look at us'.
Meanwhile Meath minor star Shane O'Rourke who has been chased by the Brisbane Lions for some time now looks like he will not be heading down under this year. While not ruling out joining fellow Irishmen in the O'hAilpin brothers, Kennally and Colm Begley down under in future, he has revealed that at this stage it is not for him.
The Down County Board have issued a statement on behalf of Martin Clarke, saying that he has not signed contracts yet and will discuss that contract offered to him by Collingwood with his family before making the final decision.
To view some great pictures of Clarke's time at Collingwood click on the link http://www.anriocht.com/anriocht/photolibrary/2006/august/summer/photo1.htm from the An Riocht Gaelic Amateur Club website.