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29th Apr 2024

Derry’s Jude McAtamney signs with the New York Giants

Jude McAtamney has signed for the New York Giants as another Irish player has joined the NFL.

Michael McQuaid

The NFL have another Irish player in their ranks.

Jude McAtamney has signed for the New York Giants as another Irish player has joined the NFL.

It has been a historic NFL off-season. Back in February, multiple athletes took part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Charlie Smyth, Rory Beggan, Darragh Leader and Mark Jackson entered the arena in Indiana and Smyth was quickly signed by the New Orleans Saints after
their Pro Day in Florida. The rest of the hopefuls are still working out with hopes of signing with other teams.

On Monday, it was confirmed that former Swatragh and Derry GAA underage player Jude McAtamney had signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent.

McAtamney won the Ulster U20 Championship title with Mickey Donnelly’s Derry panel in 2018.

His success in Gaelic football propelled him towards exploring opportunities in college football, and his involvement with Pro Kick Australia facilitated his recruitment journey.
Jude moved to the United States soon after the championship victory and was awarded an athletic scholarship at Chowan University.

McAtamney then moved to Rutgers University and became a kickoff specialist for the team, where he managed to return 40 of 60 touchback attempts, a big improvement than previous players were able to handle at Rutgers.

McAtamney was an asset to Rutgers during his time there and after he exhausted his eligibility for college football, he chose to
look towards the NFL.

Like other Irish athletes trying their hand at American Football, McAtamney was in demand. He had multiple offers to work out this week – with the New York Jets also interested in him.

Ultimately, he chose to sign with the New York Giants.

The Giants currently have Graham Gano (who was born in Scotland) as the only listed kicker on their depth chart, while pointer Jamie Gillan (who is also from Scotland) is also listed in the position.

In the last NFL season, Gillan was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his Week 17 performance against the New England Patriots. Gano is well-established in
New York, but he was injured during the season last year and was placed on IR at one stage.

It remains to be seen how McAtamney will fair – but one thing is for sure, this is a huge moment for Irish players entering the NFL. The opportunities with outlets such as Leader Kicking and college football have never been more accessible and McAtamney now has the opportunity of a lifetime.