Fionn O'Hara on trial with Hawthorn, McShane arrives in Australia

January 22, 2020

Westmeath's Fionn O'Hara and Cathal McShane Tyrone

by Daragh Ó Conchúir

Cathal McShane was not the only Irishman touching down in Australia this week to trial for an AFL club, as Hawthorn are considering adding a third Irish player to their ranks in the form of Fionn O’Hara.

The Hawks already have Conor Nash and Conor Glass on their books, with both having played senior football.

O’Hara has a similar profile to Nash as a talented footballer and rugby player.

The 18-year-old played at midfield in the Leinster minor championship for Westmeath last year and is also an Ireland U18 rugby international, scoring a try and two conversions against Italy last November.

It is understood that Hawthorn have been monitoring O’Hara’s progress and in communication with the St Loman’s man and his family for a number of years but this is his first time participating in training with legendary head coach, Alastair Clarkson’s playing group.

While there has been plenty of negative commentary surrounding the recruitment of GAA players, it is notable that AFL clubs can be attractive to young players such as Nash and O’Hara, with prospects of professional careers in rugby closer to home.

The criticism has been ramped in the wake of Adelaide offering Tyrone All-Star McShane a trial, even though he is not the first established senior star to be given the chance, with Tommy Walsh (Kerry) and Ciarán Sheehan (Cork) both making the switch after winning All-Irelands.

McShane arrived this week and will be looking to put his best foot forward in the hopes of earning a contract as a Category B rookie.

A Category B rookie can be included on a club's list for the current season up until June 30, so long as a position is available.

Hawthorn has two Category B openings, while Adelaide have one.

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