/ GAA

Mixed news for Irish Aussie Rules duo

Updated: Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011 14:55

Walsh - Is looking forward to a new challenge down under
Walsh - Is looking forward to a new challenge down under

It was a question of contrasting fortunes for Irish players who ply their trade in Aussie Rules, with Tommy Walsh moving to the Sydney Swans, while Setanta Ó hAilpín has been let go by the Carlton Blues.

Walsh had failed to land a starting berth with Kilda since joining the club in 2009 after securing All-Ireland honours with the Kingdom. The move to the Swans was clinched 15 minutes ahead of the deadline on Monday.

Ó hAilpín was delisted by his club after they decided not to renew his contract.

The view from down under is that the 28-year-old Corkman was an unlucky victim of circumstance to be older than a similarly uncontracted teammate, Paul Bower, when it came to a direct choice between the pair over the remaining place on the list.

Since making his debut for the Blues in 2005, Ó hAilpín has played a career total of 80 games, scoring 67 goals. The player will now enter next month's draft, with the hope of joining another AFL club.

In contrast, Walsh is clearly delighted with the move to Sydney following his meeting with coach John Longmire.

Speaking on the Sydney Swans website, he explained: "I can’t wait to get there and start. As soon as I met John and heard what the Swans wanted me to do, I knew it was too good an opportunity to miss. I just want to play footy, that’s what I came over here for."

Longmire added: "Tommy hasn’t played a senior game yet but we think he’s a fantastic key position prospect. He’s aggressive and he’s 194cms and 97 kilograms. He competes really well and he can play at either end of the ground."

Walsh will move to Sydney early next month for the start of pre-season training in mid-November and will no doubt hope to emulate fellow Kerryman Tadhg Kennelly, who had a successful 10-year career with the Swans.

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