Thursday 20 September 2018

Galway boost as Cillian McDaid tipped to end AFL journey

McDaid has been one of their most promising players, scoring 1-1 in last year’s All-Ireland U-21 final defeat to Dublin. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
McDaid has been one of their most promising players, scoring 1-1 in last year’s All-Ireland U-21 final defeat to Dublin. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Galway are confident that they will have Cillian McDaid back with them for the 2019 football season as he prepares to cut ties with AFL side Carlton.

The expectation is that McDaid will bring his career in the Australian game to an end in the coming weeks and return home, less than a year after signing up with the Melbourne club.

McDaid's potential return, allied to the availability of Liam Silke who spent the summer in Boston, will help to soften the blow for the Tribe footballers after Saturday's nine-point defeat to Dublin.

McDaid has been one of their most promising players, scoring 1-1 in last year's All-Ireland U-21 final defeat to Dublin.

One of 12 Irish currently on the books of AFL clubs, the former All-Ireland minor hurling winner spent some time at home recently.

Silke will add a significant option in 2019 to a half-back line that was under considerable pressure against Dublin on Sunday.

But perhaps his loss was most keenly felt when a penalty to put them three points clear, taken by Eamonn Brannigan, was saved by Stephen Cluxton. Silke has been their regular and reliable penalty-taker up to this year.

With Paul Conroy recovering from his broken leg it will leave Galway in a stronger position but after such a progressive season they'll feel the end has been unsatisfactory.

One AFL recruit going in a different direction to McDaid is Dublin's James Madden who is currently out with his new club Brisbane Lions, ahead of a November start with them.

As Galway manager Kevin Walsh gives consideration to staying on for a further year he may lose Paddy Tally from his backroom team.

Tally is understood to be the front-runner for the vacant Down position and could have one of the county's most prominent footballers of recent times, Benny Coulter, along with him.

Tally, who has worked with Down in the past when James McCartan took them to an All-Ireland final and was involved with Mickey Harte when Tyrone were crowned All-Ireland champions in 2003, is expected to take over from Eamonn Burns.

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