Sunday 19 November 2017

Leinster Rugby keen to land top GAA prospect if AFL career doesn't work out

 

Conor Nash. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
Conor Nash. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster have not given up hope of former Meath minor star Conor Nash one day returning to wear the blue jersey.

The prodigious 18-year-old was snapped up by Aussie Rules club Hawthorn as an 'international rookie' having won a Meath senior football title with Simonstown Gaels and is highly rated by the Australians.

The multi-talented midfielder was also a star full-back for Navan RFC and represented Leinster and Ireland at underage level.

He was offered a chance to take the next step to the province's professional ranks upon leaving school, but opted instead to take his chance Down Under.

And Leinster Academy manager Peter Smyth says he has stayed in contact with Nash just in case he changes his plans.

"Conor played underage rugby with Leinster. He was a Meath minor, won a club championship and now he's gone to Hawthorn in the AFL," he said.

Opportunity

"I would have talked quite heavily with him and he just said, 'It's Australia, I've an opportunity to go,' and we're still in contact occasionally.

"When he came back in November we organised for him to get a 'Dexa' scan because you never know, in a couple of years if he wants to come back...

"So, there's always going to be competition for that great athlete. We're doing a huge amount, but we're constantly looking at it.

"There are a number of sports, we're looking at soccer and Gaelic players and then there's rugby too.

"All the time you're trying to improve your pathway and trying to make yourself as attractive as possible to that kid who has an offer to go to a Premiership club or the AFL, that you can say what we think is the reason this is the right opportunity."

Irish Independent

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