Young Gaelic football star confirms he will join Collingwood
Wednesday, August 23 2006 @ 08:20 pm ACST
Contributed by: Peter Parry
As profiled in a previous story, 18 year old county Down star Martin Clarke had signed with Collingwood. It is now confirmed that he will join Collingwood at the end of this year's Gaelic football season. Clarke captained the under-18 'Minor' county Down team to victory in the 2005 All Ireland Minor Football Championship Final.
He joins fellow Gaelic footballers playing in AFL colours: Tadhg Kennelly, who has become one of the AFL's top players with his rebounding play from half-back for Sydney, Setanta O'hAilpin who has shown great promise in recent games for Carlton and younger brother Aisake O'hAilpin who is yet to play for the Carlton senior team but shows promise, and Colm Begley who has had a mecurial rise to make Brisbane's first team since coming across at the end of 2005.
Down is one of the Irish counties located in the province of Ulster and Martin Clarke is profiled in a story from BBC Northern Ireland.
His move is certain to upset some within the GAA who resent the loss of young stars to the professional AFL, however it must be said that the GAA also has perhaps more competition from Soccer and Rugby for Irish footballing talent, and as Tadhg Kennelly has indicated some of these Irish AFL converts will revert to the game of their youth. Then there are others such as Shane O'Rourke, a county Meath youngster and son of a former GAA great and Ireland International Rules captain Colm O'Rourke, who are content to stay home and play Gaelic football and find monetary rewards in the modern booming Irish economy - as profiled in Melbourne newspaper The Age.