Tuesday 21 January 2020

O'Connor happy with AFL lifestyle

Mark O’Connor. Photo: Getty Images
Mark O’Connor. Photo: Getty Images
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Former Kerry underage star Mark O'Connor doesn't see himself coming back to play for the Kingdom any time soon with the 22-year-old admitting that his AFL career gives him the opportunity to do things that are not possible with the GAA.

O'Connor is heading into his third season with Geelong after a "breakthrough year" and the Dingle clubman outlined the off-field opportunities which will keep him Down Under for the foreseeable future.

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"My argument has always been that if the GAA want to keep players, it's about providing them with opportunities off the field as well and giving him a lifestyle that would be worth staying for," O'Connor told Radio Kerry's 'Terrace Talk' programme.

"A lot of people are raising eyebrows at the minute but at the same time it's hard to keep players at home when maybe the opportunities aren't as great as they are out here. The opportunities at the minute are too good out there, for now anyway at least.

"I don't know what I'd be doing at home off the field. I try to have as much balance as I can and try to thrive off the field as well as on it, that's very important to me so I'm just not sure what I'd be doing at home."

While detailing contact from Kerry boss Peter Keane last year about possibly getting involved, O'Connor also revealed that he had no contact from the Kingdom county board about possibly returning to play for his county.

The Dingle clubman also shared his worries that the 'advanced mark' might "slow the game down a bit".

"I know it's a skill that people like seeing when someone takes a big grab but Gaelic football is a really fast game and I think that's the way it should stay. I'd just prefer to see an open, flowing game. It does slow down the play here when marks are taken," O'Connor said.

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