Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Marc McGowan reports on the www.afl.com.au website that Hawthorn may make a decision on recruiting a third Irish player for the 2020 season. With Conor Glass and Conor Nash already on their books, the Hawks would join Essendon with three Irish talents.
HAWTHORN could add a third Irishman to its AFL list, with the Hawks flying teenage rugby prodigy Fionn O'Hara to Australia for a closer look at him.
They already have Irish products Conor Nash (19 senior games) and Conor Glass (17) under contract, and both have earned promotion from Category B rookie status to the primary list.
O'Hara, like Nash previously, plays underage rugby for powerhouse club Leinster and was a strong performer for an Ireland under-18 team against Italy's equivalent in November.
He scored a try in that match and added two conversions as well, illustrating the sharp kicking skills he's demonstrated as he's progressed through the ranks.
O'Hara was also chosen to take part in a three-day high-performance training camp in late December, alongside some of Ireland's best under-18 rugby talent.
AFL.com.au understands Hawthorn's been in contact with O'Hara and his family for multiple years.
They followed a similar process in wooing and eventually signing Nash and Glass.
O'Hara hails from Westmeath, the same county as another Irishman who progressed to an AFL list, ex-Richmond rookie John Heslin.
The athletic midfielder also plays Gaelic football for Westmeath.
It's a rare recruiting route for the AFL system, given rugby players can compete professionally, whereas Gaelic footballers are amateurs.
The Hawks can sign O'Hara for the 2020 season if they wish, benefiting from the same rule that Adelaide is set to use if it secures gun Gaelic footballer Cathal McShane.
McShane arrived in South Australia this week for what is effectively a try-out for both parties as he weighs up switching codes after an All-Star season last year.
As per a little-known AFL rule, a Category B rookie can be included on a club's list for the current season up until June 30, so long as a position is available.
Hawthorn has one Category B opening, with promising defender Changkuoth Jiath – who made his AFL debut in round 21 last year against Greater Western Sydney – and new arrival Harry Pepper holding that status.
Marc’s original story can be viewed at: https://www.afl.com.au/news/367415/hawks-poised-to-swoop-on-irish-rugby-prodigy
Picture Credit: www.hoganstand.com
World Footy News