Contributed by: Wesley Hull
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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