Sunday 22 July 2018

AFL's St Kilda sign Westmeath's Ray Connellan and Kilkenny hurler Darragh Joyce

Ray Connellan and Darragh Joyce have joined St Kilda
Ray Connellan and Darragh Joyce have joined St Kilda

Tom Rooney

AFL team St Kilda have officially announced their acquisition of Westmeath footballer Ray Connellan and Kilkenny hurler Darragh Joyce.

Connellan, 22, who suffered two breaks in the fibula above his ankle and ligament damage in the Leinster final defeat to Dublin earlier in the month, had already all but confirmed his move to Melbourne.

Following surgery two days after the provincial showcase, which involved the placement of pins in his leg, Connellan was informed that his recovery period will be roughly 14 weeks.

Darragh Joyce, the younger brother of Kieran, who previously captained the Kilkenny minors to an All Ireland title in 2014, has long since been linked with a move to the AFL after impressing at a trial in DCU last year, and then on a three-week audition at Seaford in June, also attended by Connellan.

St Kilda have confirmed that both players have been awarded two-year contracts, and are expected to make the trip Down Under at some stage in September.

St Kilda recruiter Tony Elshaug said: "We asked them to go home and spend a week just having a real think about what they were committing to," he told Fairfax Media.

"We wanted them to talk to their families about what they would be giving up and leaving behind in terms of home and their studies and the challenges ahead. They both came back and accepted. To be honest I think they would have been happy to stay in Australia from the time they came out here."

Among other Irish exports to St Kilda is Kerry All Ireland winner Tommy Walsh, who then moved on to the Sydney Swans.

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