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Friday, January 29 2021 @ 01:01 am ACDT

Irish Talent Heads To Florida For AFL Academy Training Camp


The following article from The 42 website by Finlan O’Toole looks at the movement of potential Irish Gaelic footballers and Hurling stars headed to the AFL Training Camp to be held in Florida.

Players from Galway, Kilkenny and Westmeath are amongst the 33 players heading to Florida today for the start of the NAB AFL Academy’s training camp in America.

Galway’s Cillian McDaid, Kilkenny’s Darragh Joyce and Westmeath’s Ray Connellan are all partaking in the camp where leading Australian clubs will run the rule over the players present.


The players fly to Orlando before travelling to Sarasota in Florida for eight days on a high-intensity camp at the IMG Academy.


The tour will then finish with four days in Santa Monica. It marks the second successive year that the Academy has travelled to the United States.

“From our point of view we’re looking to expose our boys to a level of training load that they haven’t emotionally or physically experienced before,” head coach Brenton Sanderson told the official AFL website.

“We’re also looking to get as much information as we can from them, including fitness testing, nutrition, leadership, resilience and as much data as possible so we can prepare them for the season ahead.”

Joyce is the Irish player most familiar with Australian Rules having featured at the AFL Draft Combine last November. However concerns over homesickness for the Rower-Inistioge club man – a brother of Kilkenny senior Kieran Joyce – resulted in him not securing an AFL contract.

Joyce. who captained Kilkenny to the 2014 All-Ireland minor hurling title, remains on the radar of AFL clubs. He first came to prominence with his Gaelic football performances at schools level for Good Counsel (New Ross).

Connellan caught the eye at last year’s AFL Europe talent combine in Dublin. The Athlone player made his senior championship debut for Westmeath against Louth in 2014 and also was on the scoresheet during Westmeath’s famous Leinster championship win against Meath last summer.

McDaid, a native of Craughwell, was another to impress at the Europe talent combine in Dublin. He shone for Galway in both codes at minor level last year, winning an All-Ireland medal in hurling when the Tribesmen saw off Tipperary and a Connacht football medal.


To visit the website, go to: http://www.the42.ie/afl-florida-camp-2543672-Jan2016/

Images: TOP - Westmeath's Ray Connellan (James Crombie - INPHO), BOTTOM - Darren Joyce Holding Kilkenny's All-Ireland Cup (Cathal Noonan - INPHO)

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Irish Talent Heads To Florida For AFL Academy Training Camp | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Irish Talent Heads To Florida For AFL Academy Training Camp
Authored by: Cam Homes on Thursday, January 14 2016 @ 11:04 am ACDT

Wonder whether there is any contact with footy clubs, leagues and/or USAFL by this AFL Academy group whilst in Florida, and what form any contact takes, eg. practice match, combined training sessions, schools clinics etc.
And I guess the other question that comes to mind is, if not, why not?

Nothing mentioned in the AFL website article about linking up with "US footy", although it does state that the players will be training alongside NFL (American Football/Gridiron) players.

Is this another example of promoting AFL (Aussie Rules) in America by the AFL(world ruling body) going down the gurgler?

Irish Talent Heads To Florida For AFL Academy Training Camp
Authored by: Harley Vague on Thursday, January 14 2016 @ 11:47 am ACDT
My sentiments exactly Cam.It would be a great opportunity at zero cost.
Even if they had an open day watching players train and meeting them afterwards to ask a few questions.etc.
it'd mean a lot to a local club/league and possibly a media opportunity to promote their club.
Irish Talent Heads To Florida For AFL Academy Training Camp
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Thursday, January 14 2016 @ 02:43 pm ACDT

Have it on pretty good authority that the USAFL is not involved in this trip. Past trips by the same age group to South Africa and Europe have seen massively one sided results against local rep teams and I guess it was determined there was little value to this crop of players who are mostly likely to be drafted later this year in that type of contest (or the local team).

There have been other opportunities in the US for players in the past to have contact with AFL players during club preseason trips and also during visits by AFL players to the US Nationals. In addition the USAFL are involved in the AFL's US Combine that has been held the last few years and likely will be held again in 2016 where they have valuable contact with the AFL's development staff such as Kevin Sheehan, Mick Ablett and Tadhg Kennelly.

Irish Talent Heads To Florida For AFL Academy Training Camp
Authored by: Cam Homes on Friday, January 15 2016 @ 03:19 pm ACDT

Promotional value and "mindset" (detest that term)!!!!! but I believe that the AFL just hasn't been able to even begin to think and behave like the AFL (world ruling body) that it claims to be when it comes to promoting AFL (Aussie Footy/Australian Rules Football) as played outside Australia.

As you say Troy there is little value to the academy players on a trip like this in playing matches against locals. But that is not the point, the guys are already in USA and the promotional value for Aussie Rules in the States is not even considered when at virtually no extra cost a "practice" match with as many locals that they can round up, and/or an afternoon skills session in a couple of high schools close to this IMG place could do wonders for the game in that region.

Even just two or three locals (especially youngsters) enticed to take up the game is of immense value to the local clubs and leagues.

You mention other opportunities such as preseason trips and visits by players to  the US Nationals and combines (all good) but this is another opportunity lost because of the AFL's collective mindset. Unfortunately the focus is solely on the AFL (the league) and AFL (the Code) internationally is not even considered.

If  we could only entice the AFL development section to rename itself and convince it to become a truly "International Development"  first and a "develop players in Aussie" section second. OH! what a far off dream that is! :-((

JUst like to remind you that although the Easter Series matches held in Europe were "massively one sided results" the actual score differences reduced substantually each year and obviously suggests that the matches were of immense value to European footy. (Unless you subscribe to the idea that the Aussie players standards were falling) :-) 

Promotional value versus AFL (the organistaion) mindset!!!!!ωωωω

AFL (the organisation)Gillon and Co) does not equal AFL (world ruling body).


Irish Talent Heads To Florida For AFL Academy Training Camp
Authored by: Harley Vague on Saturday, January 16 2016 @ 07:24 pm ACDT

What Cam and i are saying is that a lot more thought has to be given to promotion surrounding an event. An AFL team just doesn't arrive and play an away game any more. There is a build-up with open training sessions for fans to meet players and media interviews with players and coaches. Likewise any AFL event overseas should make some attempt to engage with the local community and especially the local football community. This can be in any appropriate form. Open training, dropping in on local club etc. This costs nothing but time and effort. If it is deemed possible to play some football then all the better. On that subject, I believe it is possible to come up with some informal mercy rule . If it's all over by half time, then it's time to modify things. .