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Connolly leads Stateside exodus of inter-county stars

Connolly’s departure from the Dublin fold may only be felt at the latter stages of their four-in-a-row bid. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Connolly’s departure from the Dublin fold may only be felt at the latter stages of their four-in-a-row bid. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Diarmuid Connelly is the most high-profile American recruit this summer with the Dublin star set to ply his trade with Donegal Boston, but he will be joined Stateside by a host of other inter-county players.

Connolly's departure from the Dublin fold may only be felt at the latter stages of their four-in-a-row bid and should he join up with Donegal Boston as expected, the five-time All-Ireland winner will be ineligible for the rest of 2018 with the Dubs.

The St Vincent's powerhouse is set to travel to the US in the next week and there will be many familiar faces donning the green and gold alongside him with team-mates including Donegal duo Michael Carroll and Eoin McHugh.

Brendan Murphy - who defected from the Carlow squad having helped Turlough O'Brien's men gain promotion to Division 3 - is another notable acquisition as well as Galway's Liam Silke - voted club Footballer of the Year following Corofin's All-Ireland win in March.

Throw Dylan Wall (Galway), Oisin O'Neill (Armagh), Niall Keenan and Ciaran McFaul (both Derry), and former Antrim U-21 player Conor Small into the mix and there's a huge inter-county flavour to the set-up.

With members of inter-county panels, who have been included on a championship team list, ineligible for sanctions to the US - unless holding a valid J1 visa (excluding New York) - the exodus is a sign of the times and particularly difficult for weaker counties.

Another Boston side to do well in the transfer market are Wolfe Tones, which will be able to call on the services of Cavan's Michael Argue, Meath's Seán Tobin - who opted off Andy McEntee's Royal squad after the league - and last year's Roscommon centre-back Sean Mullooly.

Dublin panellist Shane Carthy (Naomh Mearnóg), Mayo forward pair Brian Reape and Adam Gallagher and Kerry's Jonathan Lyne are three others heading to the US along with Westmeath stalwart James Dolan and former Louth All-Star midfielder Paddy Keenan.

Mickey Harte's Tyrone are minus the services of sharpshooter Darren McCurry while Sligo's Mark Breheny will spend his first summer away from the Yeats fold with New York Sligo.

High-profile hurlers are few and far between at this stage with Waterford's Kieran Bennett, Carlow's Marty Kavanagh, former Tipperary panellist Tomás Hamill and Wicklow hurling captain Warren Kavanagh the most notable to venture abroad.

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