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Still some footy to play for Irish lads?

  • Thursday, September 27 2007 @ 09:57 am ACST
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While it seems that some players are already in the bad news books in the AFL offseason (see Greek Islands and Oktoberfest) with the Grand Final yet to be played, others just can’t seem to get enough football action. It appears that both Setanta and Aisake O hAilpin could be playing on that last weekend in September, and Martin Clarke’s season may not have finished with Collingwood’s loss last weekend.

Irish website Hoganstand.com reported that Aussie Rules stars Setanta and Aisake O hAilpin are set to make a shock return to GAA action this weekend with their club Na Piarsaigh. "The brothers are in line to be included on the Cork city’s side which will tackle Nemo Rangers in the Cork SFC quarter-final on Sunday next. The brothers are home on holiday and have been training with their erstwhile club colleagues. Setanta has recovered from surgery on a damaged finger while Aisake has already played for Na Piarsaigh in a challenge game last weekend". Carlton will no doubt be glad to hear that Aisake has recovered from the injuries that kept him out of the Preston Bullant's side for the latter part of the season, and that Setanta’s finger is doing fine.

Collingwood may also be interested to know that Martin Clarke’s County side An Riocht are hoping to have the young star’s services for the next month. Again from Hoganstand, An Riocht are due to play Mayobridge in the Division One league semi-final on October 16th next with the league final pencilled in for October 26th under lights in Newry. "I heard the fellas saying that he had been texting them and that he’s mad keen to get training for the Kingdom," enthused former Down supremo McGrath.

"He was hoping that we would make the play-offs. As far as I know, he is able to play and he is very keen to play, but I’m not totally certain about that. "Losing Martin was a big blow because he is a great player. But I’ve hardly mentioned his name since he left because the team had to get on without him and that was it."

The cameo appearances by these players may well go some way to easing the hurt caused by the drain occurring in the GAA following AFL clubs increasing recruitment of young Irish talent. And if it keeps the Irish players happy to continue playing the professional game in Australia then the AFL clubs are likely to allow the participation – at least until a serious injury occurs.

Of course it is not without precedent with Tadhg Kennelly returning to play for his GAA club during the offseason in the past, and despite regular rumours that he would quit and return home for good, has carved out a great AFL career with the Swans over many years. Surely that is the model that Carlton and Collinwood will look to in these cases. At the very least playing Gaelic football must be better than making headlines at Oktoberfest.