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Begley backs calls for club break to clear path for Rules series

FORMER Brisbane Lions player Colm Begley has joined the chorus of protest for the GAA to remedy the club versus county conundrum that has affected players selected for international duty.

Laois man Begley said the GAA should schedule a break in club action during the International Rules series after he almost missed out on the the chance to represent his country due to club duties.

Both Begley and Stephen Cluxton were late inclusions to the Irish side after Parnell's lost out to Ballymun in the Dublin SFC quarter-final last weekend.

"You've got players who work their ass off for their county all year and then play for their clubs which they don't mind doing, but when you get a chance to play for your country and then you can't because you have to choose between club and country -- that's not a choice that anyone should have to make," Begley said.

"There should be two and a half weeks off so that players can get to experience it and to enjoy it. They should be able to play for their country and then go back and play for their club. But I'm just lucky that I got to come out here, even though it was unfortunate that we (Parnell's) lost the game. But then there's Darran O'Sullivan who can't come out and he really deserved to be here."

Begley stressed that the limited time between club commitments and jumping on a plane to fulfil international commitments wasn't ideal.

"It is daunting enough to have to re-focus yourself with only one day in between when you didn't even know you were going, and then you're also disappointed about the game (you lost).

"It's something that could be easily fixed in my opinion and maybe they can look at it for future tests."

The Gaelic footballer, who played with Aussie Rules sides Brisbane Lions and St Kilda, revealed his time Down Under did make him wonder what could have been had things turned out differently.

"There's always that feeling of what if I'd have stayed there another year or what if I'd gone a bit harder?

"But I had a great four years and I'm back home now and things are going well for me. But when you come out here and you see the lifestyle that the boys have and you remember what it was like and how enjoyable it was, you do think about it."

While Begley won't get the chance to line out against any of his former Brisbane Lions team-mates he will get the chance to square up against St Kilda star Stephen Milne. Milne is a veteran of 236 games and played in the hybrid series in 2002. The Parnell's clubman said he's definitely one for the Irish to watch.

"He's a dangerous forward. He's a good guy and he's always good for a few goals. He's also had a good year this year, so I'm looking forward to playing against him.

"It's a young team they've got, they're fresh and they're pretty fast so it should be an exciting game."