Down duo call on Croker to ensure Clarke stays put
Two of Down's leading lights have called on the GAA to step in and ensure that Martin Clarke does not return to Australian Rules next year.
Manager James McCartan and midfielder Kalum King are desperate for the An Riocht man, who turned down a three-year contract from Collingwood to return home from the AFL last year, to commit himself to Down football and try to go one step further next year.
Clarke has hinted that he would consider a return to Australia and McCartan believes the Association needs to do everything in its power to stop the star forward going back Down Under.
"Quality is quality," McCartan said. "One can only assume that they recognise it when they see it. Marty is class. Of course they (the Australians) will be looking at him. We are just delighted to have him for the here and now.
"I do think it will be disappointing from a GAA perspective that probably one of its -- you'd like to assume -- superstars will be allowed to leave.
"I do realise that the GAA are restricted in the mechanisms they have to ensure that doesn't happen.
"I suppose it is difficult. How do you single anyone out? But if there ever was a special case, you would think that he would be one of them.
"Not only is Martin Clarke a very special footballer but he is a very special individual and any decision that he makes as regards his future, I will certainly respect it."
And King agreed with his manager, saying: "He'll be hot property. Maybe the GAA could do something to keep him here. I read somewhere that he could be a potential GAA poster boy.
"Rather than letting the Aussies take one of our best prospects, they could do something to keep him here.
"Why would you want to let the Aussies take him?"