GAA Football

Derry fans breathe sigh of relief as Callum Brown's switch to Aussie Rules remains unconfirmed

Derry's Callum Brown leaves Sligo opponents behind during the All Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter final match at Ballybofey on Saturday. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.
Andy Watters

CALLUM Brown’s switch from Gaelic Football to Aussie Rules outfit the Greater Western Sydney Giants remains unconfirmed despite the Limavady teenager’s impressive display while on trial with in July.

Brown, an Ulster Minor Championship winner and All-Ireland finalist with Derry last year who won provincial honours with the Oak Leaf U20 side this season had a 10-day trail in Sydney which only whetted his appetite for a chance to play professional sport in Australia.

Derry minor team-mates Anton Tohill and Oisin McWilliams are also in the frame for a move ‘Down Under’ but Brown – who turned 18 during the summer and is undoubtedly potential star of the GAA – has had no contact for the Giants since his trial.

“There is still no sign of a contract or anything yet,” said the tall, athletic and skilful Limavady Wolfhounds clubman.

Brown missed an AFL ‘combine’ in Dublin earlier this year but was approached by AFL scouts who were keen to assess his suitability for the sport.

“Anton and Oisin went to a combine (trials) last year but I got the email at the last second so I couldn’t get organised to go down,” he explained.

“I got an email from one of the coaches to see if I wanted to meet up and have a chat because they were interested and it has just gone on from there.”

After initial discussions, Brown travelled to Sydney for 10 days’ of training and trial games in July and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It was class,” he said.

“You would think that because they are different sports you’d be doing different things but a lot of the training drills were basically the same.

“Everything was working with the ball and it was all more or less what we do here. I got very positive feedback.

“It was tough, but it was good, it was enjoyable to experience what they do.”

He returned to his county Derry home optimistic and fully prepared to make the switch to Australia. Rumours have done the rounds that he is due to fly out in October or November but Brown insists he has yet to hear back from the Sydney club.

“I’d like to go, 100 per cent,” he said.

“It is a class sport to play but I haven’t heard of anything yet, it’s a waiting process now.

“Obviously I’m hoping that they’ll get back to me soon. It’s not something you want to miss because, without doubt, it was incredible, the set-up and everything.”

A talented sportsman, Brown was on the books at Linfield before switching to Oran Kearney’s Coleraine but he decided to give up soccer and pour all his energy into Gaelic Football.

“I decided to stick with Derry and didn’t bother with the football,” he said and, whether he goes to Australia or not, Brown doesn’t think he has played his last game in the Oak Leaf jersey.

“I hope I’ll play for Derry again, I’d like to think so anyway,” he said.

“I’ll have to see how I get on, but I know there’ll always be an opportunity for me in GAA as well, it’s always going to be there and I know that.

“This (playing in the AFL) would be an unbelievable opportunity but if I do go out, I know I can come back, I know it’ll always be there.”

 

 

Derry's Callum Brown leaves Sligo opponents behind during the All Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter final match at Ballybofey on Saturday. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.

 

 

Callum Brown celebrates with his Derry U20 team-mates after Derry beat Donegal in this year's Ulster quarter-final. Pic Philip Walsh

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