MARTY Clarke has ruled out a return to the Down colours for the foreseeable future after wrapping up his move back to AFL club, Collingwood.
The An Ríocht man returned to Ireland two years ago after an impressive start to professional football in Australia and heavily influenced Down's run to last year's All-Ireland final.
However, speculation persisted that Clarke would rejoin the Pies after the conclusion of this season and with his girlfriend set to join him Down Under upon the completion of her medical exams next summer, the player himself says the possibility of lining out for his county again is remote.
"At this stage, I'll probably say that I won't be, especially with Anna coming over," admitted Clarke. "Definitely for the foreseeable future, I'd have to say no."
Clarke studied in St Mary's, Belfast, with a view to becoming a teacher but left to take up a coaching position with the Down county board.
"This is something I can do for six or seven years if I'm lucky and set myself up," he said of his repatriation with Collingwood.
"This time I'm going over for a career. I definitely feel I've matured a good bit in the last couple of years as well.
"Hopefully it can work out. I had to think about more and see about money this time.
"My agent over there was working hard for me.
"I knew that going back I needed to get a good deal and we were able to do that. I'm really focusing from a career point of view this time."
Green light to upgrade Páirc Uí Chaoimh
THE Cork county board have been given the green light to press ahead with their ambitious plans to redevelop Páirc Uí Chaoimh and build a centre of excellence for GAA on Leeside.
Cork City Council met last night to agree a fee of around €1.7m for the 6.8 acres that the board are purchasing from the city and the Rebels are hoping to stage the first matches at the new 45,000-seater ground in early 2014.