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23rd Aug 2018

AFL’s latest Irish star on the GAA’s perfectly reasonable fear

Michael Corry

The AFL presents a fantastic opportunity to young Gaels up and down the country.

There is no point in sugar coating it, Gaelic football cannot offer young men and women financial security, nor a professional lifestyle. So, the allure of the AFL is always going to turn heads.

The latest youngster to cause shockwaves over in Australia is Conor Nash.

The Meath man made his AFL debut for Hawthorn during a win over rivals Geelong only a few weeks ago.

He followed up his impressive debut with his first goal a week later.

Nash has now been rewarded after his first two senior games by putting pen to paper on a new two-year deal with Hawthorn.

The Simonstown Gaels man was always going to have a bright future, no matter what career path he chose. Whether that was football with Meath, AFL with Hawthorn, or rugby with Leinster.

The 20-year-old was always going to become a star.

Since his breakthrough Down Under, media outlets have been clamouring to speak to the young man.  On Wednesday he was a guest on Australian podcast SEN Breakfast with Garry Lyon and Tim Watson. 

The guys highlighted Hawthorn’s faith in Conor Nash by granting him his debut against the club’s biggest rivals Geelong in the world famous Melbourne Cricket Groud (MCG).

“I thought, ‘yeah that’s a big one to start off with’. In the last few years I’ve got to recognise the rivalry between the two clubs and how big a game it is.” Nash said.

“Certainly, at this time of the year it was massive for our season. I was a bit nervous before, but we’re all good now.” He added.

Nash was asked if the GAA are wary of the threat posed by AFL recruiters with regards to losing talent.

“They (the GAA) are certainly afraid of what the AFL can do,” Nash told SEN Breakfast.

“A lot of lads have come over and a lot of top talent has gone with it. It’s still only a couple of players each year, it’s not like we are taking 10 or 20 each year.” He added.

“They’re certainly wary of it and there will be a lot of staunch GAA men back home who wouldn’t like it at all but it’s a massive opportunity for any young lad to come over and play professional sport.” Nash continued.

His comments on the GAA’s fear is perfectly reasonable considering that players such as Conor Glass, Conor McKenna, and Ciaran Byrne have all opted to carve out a career in Australia and as a result left behind promising future’s with Derry, Tyrone and Louth respectively.

The Meath man says he would recommend any young GAA players to give Aussie Rules a try.

“If I was giving any advice, I would be telling them to jump at it.”

“They certainly won’t regret it.” He added.

Nash was asked about growing up playing Rugby. The youngster confirmed that had he not chosen to move to Australia, he would have opted to sign with Leinster instead.

“If I had of stayed at home Rugby would have been my main one. I had an offer from Leinster Rugby, who are a big professional team back home, and are doing pretty well.”

“Certainly as a young lad, that’s were I thought I’d end up. Other things came on the horizon, I kind of fell in love the idea of Aussie rules.” Nash added.

It is very clear that Nash has no regrets about his decision and has fallen in love with his chosen sport.

From listening to his interview we can be pretty certain that we won’t be seeing him in the green of Meath or blue of Leinster any time soon.

However, we will be supporting him, and his AFL career none the less.

Nash’s star continues to shine. This young man has a very bright future.