Marty Clarke has described as "comical" Mickey Harte's suggestion that former GAA players have any influence when it comes to AFL clubs signing Irish players.
Cathal McShane, one of Tyrone's star players last year, is set to spend January training with the Adelaide Crows. Speaking about the possibility of losing McShane, Harte said: "I think that’s the sad thing about it: it used to be in the past, we had unknown Australians trying to woo our players out to their AFL league. Now we have ex-Gaelic players doing it."
Clarke, a 2010 All-Star with Down, had two stints with AFL team Collingwood. He now works in what he calls a "development and mentoring role" with Irish players which Aussie rules sides are looking to sign.
The 32-year-old, who said he has had no contact with McShane, added that he was not concerned if Harte's words were aimed at him.
Marty Clarke providing clarity on the process of GAA players joining AFL, says he’s had no personal contact with Cathal McShane. Read the interview on the @BBCSPORTNI websitepic.twitter.com/gCOUkB5bBu
— Thomas Niblock (@thomasniblock) January 6, 2020
"These are million dollar businesses and their greatest resources like any club, be it amateur or professional, are their players," Clarke told BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound Extra-Time.
So for Mickey to be suggesting that former GAA players have the authority to go a team like Adelaide Crows and say, 'you should pick him up' is quite comical.
The hours of research that is done for a profile of a player to fit in with how that team plays. Will a guy fit into their culture, where he's at in his life? Does he have a career outside of sport that he wants to fit in? These are massive, massive things and they are only done by the clubs.
There's no doubt in my mind that the Adelaide Crows did all this by themselves.
They would have access to all the games on GAA GO. They would have been tracking him for a number of seasons and they said 'you know what, we would like to have a conversation with that guy'.
Harte had also suggested that bringing Irish players to Australia was a "cheap gamble" for clubs. That was another assertion with which Clarke did not agree.
"It's anything but,"said Clarke.
"It's a high risk strategy. Greater resources are needed to recruit an Irish player, train them up, relocate them and perhaps bring family across on flights.
"It's certainly not a free hit and a number of clubs don't bother coming near Ireland because they see it as such a high risk hit."