Last September, Oisin Gallen headed for a two-week audition in front of Aussie rules clubs. The young forward was due to train with an under-17 All-Stars team and take part in tests to showcase his athletic ability at the AFL's draft combine.
Gallen is one of Donegal football's rising stars. He scored a point off the bench in last year's Ulster final against Cavan, 1-1 against Meath in the Super 8s and 0-2 against Kerry at the same stage.
According to his inter-county captain Michael Murphy, the teenager enjoyed his time Down Under. And, when it comes to making a decision about his future - whether it be in Gaelic football or Aussie rules - Murphy's sure the Sean MacCumhaill's kid will make the right one for him.
"I’d be very encouraging for any player to go and try it - similar to how I got the opportunity with The Toughest Trade - in terms of the professional game," said Murphy on a Thursday morning video call.
"I know Oisin had a great time with it, as did Jason McGee and Eoghan Bán in other years. Oisin is well able to make up his own mind though, some lads need a bit more direction and advice than others and Oisin is definitely not one of them. Really smart, level headed lad who knows what he wants.
"He’s really driven to play for Donegal and that’s one thing that’s really evident from him - so that would influence him in any decision he would have to make.
"He loves playing for Donegal and I just know from training with him he’s hungry for success both individually and for Donegal as a whole. He’s his own man in that decision and he needed very little advice or guidance."
Pictured is Glenswilly and Donegal footballer Michael Murphy ahead of the final two episodes of AIB’s GAA series ‘The Toughest Trade’ on Virgin Media Television this summer. The series features GAA stars Aidan O’Shea, Michael Murphy, Lee Chin, and Brendan Maher as they swap sports with their counterparts in American football, rugby, ice hockey and cricket.
Gallen suffered a shoulder injury late last year which could have kept him out of the early rounds of this year's championship had Covid-19 not stepped in to halt the action. Murphy said that Gallen, along with others like Paddy McGrath and Steve McMenamin, have used this time to rehab injuries.
"He’s been brilliant," Murphy added.
"Such an exciting prospect. It’s important for pressure not to be heaped on him but the type of character he is, he’s just so driven to keep improving and keep going and keep trying to break down the next footballing milestone in his career. Just a mature head on young shoulders.
"It’s crazy to hear the date of births of lads like him, that we’re creeping into playing with players who were born in the 2000s."
For exclusive content and to see why AIB are backing Club and County follow us @AIB_GAA on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and AIB.ie/GAA.
Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile