TWO Ulster Gaels who have a strong knowledge of the AFL system have backed Cathal McShane to succeed in the Australian sport.
Conor Glass, who is currently part of the Hawthorne set up, and Niall McKeever a former Brisbane lions player, both believe that he could be very successful ahead of the Tyrone star’s trials with the Adelaide Crows due later this month.
For Glass, McShane’s future is entirely in his own hands.
“I think it’s going to be a massive challenge for him but it’s the same for any of us going out to learn a new sport and perform at the highest level.
“No matter if he is 18 or 24, if he is willing ot work and push himself to be the best, then there is no doubt that he will carve out a successful AFL career.
“I’ve not been speaking to many boys (the other Irish players out there) but we are obviously happy that another Irish player is out and we’ll support him all the way.”
Niall McKeever is a former Brisbane Lions player, who played in the AFL for two season. He was selected in the Rookie draft and still keeps an eye on the game out there.
He’s watched the McShane story progress and he believes that he knows why McShane has been targetted.
“It’s no real surprise that he has been approached as he has had a terrific year with Tyrone.
“What will take people by surprise is that I don’t see him playing as a forward. I don’t think that’s what they want him for. What the AFL want from Irish players is a very specific type of player. If you look at the likes of Pearse Hanley, Tadhg Kenneally, Zach Tuohy, they are 6”1’, 6”2’ players who are good at running at defenders, and good at rebounds.”
McKeever explained that for the Irish, the obvious position to play Mc- Shane is in full forward because that’s where he played with such success last year.
“The AFL has big full forwards at 6”4’ and 6”5’, guys who can take marks all day.
“That’s not what McShane will be used for.”
McKeever said that one of the best exports for that full forward AFL position was Tommy Walsh. But for whatever reason, it didn’t work out for Walsh.
If McShane plays in that position that Irish players have done well in before, then he has a great chance of success.
However, McKeever also encouraged McShane to go for a club that has Irish support.
It was reported earlier in the week that Brisbane and Adelaide were in a bidding war.
Adelaide Crows since confirmed that they have secured a pre season trial with McShane for later in the month.
McKeever was at Brisbane so he knows the set up.
“I would encourage him to go to a club that has a history of dealing with Irish players. They will know how to deal with Irish players, and they will have support in place.
“Adelaide is a different part of Australia. They won’t have the same experience as somewhere like Brisbane has of coaching Irish players. All that is important.
“Take Paddy Brophy who went to the West Coast Eagles, that didn’t work out and I would suggest that they didn’t have the history of bringing out Irish players like other clubs have.”
Earlier this week Tadhg Kennelly suggested that this year may be too late for McShane to play for a club.
However, that may not be the case. A rule was brought in last year which allowed clubs to top up supplement players until January. Though that depends on how much space they have on their list.
For now, McShane is preparing to head to Adelaide for trials.