Tomás Ó'Sé takes another swipe at AFL's recruitment drive in Ireland 2 years ago

Tomás Ó'Sé takes another swipe at AFL's recruitment drive in Ireland

It's no secret that Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé is not a fan of the AFL's recruitment process with regards to Gaelic football's brightest young talents.

The legendary wing back is not happy at the number of players that are seemingly being poached, and lured away from home by the professional game.

Last year, Ó Sé criticised former Kerry team mate Tadgh Kennelly for his role in recruiting players. The Sydney Swans club man is Official Talent Coordinator for the AFL and his job is to find suitable players for clubs to scout.

Ó Sé's comments came at a time when the people of Kerry feared that their prodigious talent, David Clifford would be lured away from the GAA for a life in Australia, although this proved not to be the case.

At the time, Ó Sé wrote in his column for the Independent:

"Let’s make no bones about this. Right now, a lot of people in Kerry are cursing Tadhg. Cursing one of our own. That can’t be right," he said.

"I’d say any focus on this story must be bothering him. If I met him tomorrow, I’d say straight up, 'Tadhg, I’ve nothing against you personally. But I hate what you’re doing.'

"Because people in Kerry are sick of this. A lot of Tadhg’s former team-mates are sick of this too, they just don’t feel comfortable saying it. But I think Clifford leaving would be the straw that broke the camel’s back."

His comment's at the time prompted a response from fellow Kerry man Mark O'Connor who has made huge strides since he defected to the AFL. The Geelong player came out in defence of Kennelly who he described as 'the man that makes dreams a reality'.

A year and a half on from this particular debate, the former Kerry star has come out once more against the AFL's recruitment drive after the news that Sligo's Red Óg Murphy is set to move to North Melbourne this week.

Ó Sé feels that it is high time that the GAA force AFL club's to pay for these young players, and put the money back into the clubs that got them to the point where a professional sport wants to sign them.

It is hard not to see the logic in what Ó Sé is saying. Taking players to Australia and away from their counties is one thing, but what about the club's that are left without their star player who they put so much time and effort into over the course of 15 years.

In an age where many GAA club's are struggling financially, maybe it is time that we start thinking of ways that they can be compensated in the event that one of their best players chooses a career in AFL.

So far this year six young players have signed rookie contracts with AFL sides;

  •  James Madden (Dublin)
  • Mark Keane (Cork)
  • Stefan Okunbor (Kerry)
  • Anton Tohill (Derry)
  • Callum Brown (Derry)
  • Red Óg Murphy (Sligo)

News of Murphy's departure now brings the number of Irish in the AFL next season to a record 14.