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AFL Ramps Up GAA Player Recruitment Strategy As Marty Clarke Takes New Role

AFL Ramps Up GAA Player Recruitment Strategy As Marty Clarke Takes New Role
By PJ Browne Updated

Former Down footballer Marty Clarke is taking up a part-time role with the AFL to mentor prospects in Ireland.

Earlier this year, Clarke travelled to Florida for an AFL academy camp along with a number of Irish players. The group included Dublin's James Madden along with Cork's Mark Keane and Anton Tohill, son of Derry All-Ireland Anthony Tohill.

"The position will be an expansion of my role here of developing players who have been identified as potential AFL players," Clarke to the AFL's website.

It will be up to me to meet the boys, maintain a relationship with them, conduct a couple of training sessions and watch game footage with them.

Clarke had two spells in Aussie Rules with Collingwood from 2007-09 and 2012-14. He retired from inter-county football last year, aged just 29, due to a rare medical condition called Addison’s Disease.

Clarke further elaborated on what his new role will entail.

"I'll be catching up with them to take eight to 10 group sessions, but they'll [be] keeping an eye on the AFL season and keeping themselves up to date with the everything that's happening.

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"They'll also be keen to see how the Irish boys are going.

"They had a great experience in America and are keen to get picked up by a club, so hopefully they get drafted in November."

It was also reported on the AFL's website today that the league plans to suspend its US draft combine for this year and will instead prioritise the search for players in Ireland.

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It's said that the AFL will "boost its investment" in Ireland with "more scouting and better development programs on the ground."

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

See Also: A Ranking Of The Top 10 Alternative Jerseys In Ulster GAA History

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