Brisbane Lions chase Hanley deal

Updated: Wednesday, 01 Aug 2007 10:42

Mayo forward Pierce Hanley is being pursued by AFL club the Brisbane Lions
Mayo forward Pierce Hanley is being pursued by AFL club the Brisbane Lions

Mayo forward Pierce Hanley has become the latest young Irish footballer to be linked with a move to an Aussie Rules club.

According to a report in the Mayo News, the 18-year-old star has been offered a two-year contract by AFL outfit Brisbane Lions, the club of former Laois footballer Colm Begley.

Brisbane are also chasing the signature of Carlow minor Brendan Murphy after his display in the recent Leinster MFC final against Laois.

Hanley was approached by Brisbane scouts after Mayo's All-Ireland SFC qualifier defeat to Derry on July 14.

The Ballaghaderreen clubman was Mayo's minor captain last year and only made his debut for the seniors in last month's qualifier win over Cavan.

Hanley is yet to confirm whether he will accept the offer from the Lions but it is anticipated that he will travel to Australia in October or November to meet with club officials and finalise the contract.

‘I've no final decision made. It’s not guaranteed that I’m going out but it is probable,’ he told the Mayo News.

‘The chance of being a full-time professional athlete is hard to turn down. It’s hard to believe that I will be paid to play football. You grow up in Ireland playing football as a hobby and expect to be working in an office or wherever during the week.

‘They (Brisbane) came to me last Thursday week and it really came as a surprise - I was shocked. A coach came from Australia and called to the house and showed me a DVD,’ he added.

‘I had had no other contact with any club up to that point and I was very surprised when it came along, from nowhere.’

Hanley won the Ron Barassi medal for the best player of the series when he starred for the Irish U-17 International Rules team against Australia two years ago.

He is hoping to guide Ballaghaderreen to a county title before he flies Down Under in the autumn.