GAA Football

Tyrone forward Cathal McShane pours cold water on Aussie Rules switch speculation

Tyrone forward Cathal McShane has poured cold water on Aussie Rules switch speculation
Andy Watters

TYRONE full-forward Cathal McShane has poured cold water on speculation that he is set for a switch to Aussie Rules.

The Owen Roe’s clubman had been linked with a surprise move to Australian Football League outfit Brisbane Lions but McShane, who did have Aussie Rules trials as a teenager, says there is no substance to the rumours.

The Lions is already home to Dublin underage star James Madden and the Queensland club progressed to the AFL finals series in 2019 by finishing joint top in the league season before losing out to Great Western Sydney and Richmond and failing to progress to the semi-finals.

More than 20 former GAA players be involved with AFL teams next year including former Tyrone star Cathal McKenna who has now played over 50 games for Essendon and Derry trio Conor Glass (Hawthorn), Anton Tohill (Collingwood) and Callum Brown (Greater Western Sydney) who are all making a mark Down Under.

Tyrone supporters will certainly be relieved not to lose attacking star McShane to the lure of professional sport. Last season the talented full-forward was the focal point of the Red Hands’ attack throughout the League and Championship campaigns.

After missing out in the first two games of Division One, McShane registered 2-12 in the five remaining fixtures including 1-4 against Dublin as Tyrone laid down a marker for the Championship with a third-place finish in the top flight.

And the scores kept flowing in the Championship. McShane began with seven points against Derry in the preliminary round and, although Donegal ended Tyrone’s provincial run at the semi-final stage, McShane continued his outstanding season in the ‘back door’ route.

His scores – 2-12 in three Qualifier games including 2-2 against Longford – propelled Tyrone to the Super 8s and he hit 1-5 against Cork and eight more points against Roscommon to see Mickey Harte’s men into the All-Ireland semi-finals with a game to spare.

In that clash against Kerry, McShane contributed 0-7 but that wasn’t enough for Tyrone to withstand a second half comeback from the Kingdom who progressed to a Sam Maguire decider against Dublin.

Despite that defeat, it was no surprise that McShane’s outstanding series of individual performances were recognised with an Allstar. He was the first player from his club to receive the coveted award and was also named Tyrone’s player of 2019.

Meanwhile, Down GAA has submitted plans for a new £5 million centre of excellence at the former army barracks in Ballykinlar to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The application will be publicly advertised this week and if planning permission is granted, the county board hopes work on the ambitious project can commence next year.

The proposed centre of excellence will include four full size pitches, spectator seating, a multi-use games area, car parking for 360 vehicles, changing rooms, fitness studio and ancillary offices.

“Down GAA has not had a home that it can call its own,” read a statement from the Down county board.

“This development at Ballykinlar will allow Down GAA for the first time in its history to have a centre it can call its own.

“The project aims to provide a state-of-the-art complex to cater for the further development of Down GAA, both at a player/coaching level and administrative level. Simultaneously, the projects aims to improve community provision in the Ballykinlar area.”

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