HAVING been without an Irish player this season for the first time in years, due to the departure of Martin Clarke and Kevin Dyas last year, Collingwood are set to re-load their Irish stocks.
The Melbourne-based club has confirmed that talented Kildare minor Paul Cribbin, who face Dublin in a Leinster MFC quarter-final replay this Saturday at Parnell Park (3.0), has committed to joining the Pies later this summer.
Cribbin has been on the club's radar for around 18 months. Identified by the Pies talent scouts in Ireland, Cribbin travelled to Melbourne for a trial last year but was too young to be signed by the club. However, he impressed during his stay and the club have been monitoring his progress ever since with the Pies recruiting manager travelling to Ireland to meet with the teenager and discuss his future recently.
"We offered him a contract and we're delighted that he's indicated that he'll accept it," the Pies recruiting manager Derek Hine said. "We're really excited about him and think he's a really good prospect. He's continued to grow and develop since he's been out here."
Cribbin is expected to join the club in October, but he won't be the only Irish man making the trip down under over the next few months. Hine said the club had also arranged to trial Rostrevor teenager Caolan Mooney in July. If the Down man impresses he too will be monitored over the coming year with a view to being signed in 2011. Mooney is too young to be signed before then.
"We're confident that Caolan can come out here and get a feel for the club and the coaching staff during his time here. We're looking forward to having him over."
The club's Irish recruitment programme means that after a year void of Irish players, the club could have two on their books by the end of 2011. It won't be the first time the club has had multiple Irish signings with Martin Clarke and Kevin Dyas spending two years together in Melbourne.
DUBLIN minor footballers' injury crisis has deepened after midfield option JJ Martin suffered a quad muscle injury which looks set to rule him out of contention for Saturday's Leinster MFC quarter-final replay against Kildare at Parnell Park (3.0). The Dubs currently have nine players on the injury list.