Derry's footballers could have a high-profile new recruit this autumn after former minor star Conor Glass confirmed today that he had retired from Australian rules football and would be returning home.

The 22-year-old captained the county to a minor Ulster title with in 2015 but then joined Melbourne club Hawthorn, going on to make 21 AFL appearances in five seasons.

Glass played just four times this year for the Hawks, who missed out on the end-of-season finals series, and was not expected to be offered a new contract when his current deal expired next month.

In a post on Instragram, Glass said: "After having many discussions and thoughts over the past few weeks, i feel like its time for me to put an end to my AFL career and pursue my love of playing Gaelic for @wattygrahamsgac and @officialderrygaa .

"Thank you @hawthornfc for the opportunity over the past 5 years. You have developed me as an athlete but more importantly, as a person.Also a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me over the years, from the coaches, staff, players, the hawthorn fans, The King family and all the friends I have made."

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Homesickness was suggested as a factor in the Derryman's decision not to seek another team in Australia by the club's chief of football Graham Wright, who told the AFL website: "Conor has spent four and a half years at Hawthorn and has been totally committed to his AFL career the whole way through.

"While he will be missed around the club, the pull home has always been there for Conor and we fully support his decision.

"We thank both Conor and his family for his service to our club, the will always be a part of the Hawthorn family. We wish Conor all the best in his future endeavours."

Glass's former housemate, ex-Meath minor Conor Nash, remains on the books  at Hawthorn but Glass becomes the second Irish AFL to return home in recent months, following Tyrone man Conor McKenna's departure from Essendon.

Derry senior boss Rory Gallagher will undoubtedly be keen to get the Maghera man on board ahead of the conclusion to the county's bid for promotion from Division 3 of the Allianz Football League and their Ulster SFC quarter-final against Armagh on 1 November.