Westmeath's Ray Connellan returning to Ireland after calling time on Aussie Rules career
Westmeath man Ray Connellan will return to Ireland after departing Australian side Essendon.
Connellan, from Athlone, was thrown an Aussie Rules lifeline by Essendon after he left Victoria Football League (VFL) side St Kilda last year but he has confirmed that his career down under is now over.
"One of the nicest environments I've ever played football in! Thank you everyone at @essendonvfl. Not an easy decision for me to make but I felt it was the right time. My Aussie Rules Journey is over but I've loved every minute! What a game," said Connellan on Twitter.
"In the short time Ray was part of our program he was a great guy and fun to be around, but also set some really good standards with his hard work on the track," said Essedon coach Dan Jordan.
"He's a lightning-quick, really exciting player and hadn't played a lot of back or wing in the last couple of years at St Kilda so we wanted to give him that opportunity and watch him grow.
"He was getting to a nice level and then had his hamstring (injury) which forced him out for four or five weeks. He came back for the last couple of games and was just starting to find his feet again but clearly mentally his heart was somewhere else.
"Having said that we all saw a glimpse of what he can bring and the attributes that he has. He's a phenomenal athlete and we wish him all the best."