Kerry native Pat Spillane Jnr set to make switch to Sligo

Pat Spillane in action for St Jude's during last year's Dublin SFC. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Conor McKeon

Pat Spillane Jnr is poised to join the Sligo senior football panel for the coming season.

Son of the Kerry legend by the same name, Spillane caught the eye recently with his performances for Dublin club St Jude’s as they made a senior county final, narrowly losing to Kilmacud Crokes in November.

Spillane qualifies through his mother Rosarii – who’s a native of Sligo – and would not be required to move clubs to be eligible. He has yet to train with Tony McEntee’s panel, though it is understood that they have discussed the proposed move and both sides are eager to make it happen.

Now 24, Spillane has never represented Kerry at minor, U-21/U-20 or senior level.

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In 2015, he was one of 20 players chosen to try out at an AFL draft combine in DCU, alongside Thomas Galligan of Cavan and Kilkenny’s Darragh Joyce.

He was part of the Templenoe team that won the 2020 Kerry and Munster Intermediate championship, coming on as a sub in their subsequent All-Ireland semi-final loss to Oughterard of Galway.

It is for his performances with Jude’s, however, that he has attracted recent attention.

Lining out in midfield, Spillane scored 0-3 in their Dublin SFC semi-final win over Lucan Sarsfields, a victory that put the Templeogue club in just their third senior county final.

Tom Lahiff, Jude’s captain and a Dublin senior panellist, hailed his influence on the team, insisting, “Pat’s just been a revelation this year in midfield.”

The proposed move is understood to still be in the administrative stages though Spillane is now expected to join what is a notably young Sligo squad for the 2022 season.

Last year, Sligo won just one of their five competitive games in what was McEntee’s first season in charge.

They overcame Leitrim but lost their remaining two Allianz League Division 4 North fixtures, fell to Wexford in the Division 4 Shield final and then their solitary Connacht SFC outing, against Mayo, ended in a crushing 20-point defeat.