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Irish Magpie unsure over compensation proposal

Pre-season slog heats up across Australia A Footy Feed update with Matt Thompson

COLLINGWOOD Irish recruit Anton Tohill is unsure whether the proposal for Irish county clubs to receive compensation for losing players to AFL clubs is a necessary step. 

Tohill and Mark Keane are among a record 14 Irish players on AFL lists this season after they signed with the Magpies as international rookies in October.

Hawthorn's Conor Nash backed the push for Gaelic clubs to receive payment for losing Irish players to professional teams in Australia when interviewed by Irish podcast We are Meath.

But Tohill said the move would need to be thought through carefully. 

"It's difficult for us because I've grown up playing a few sports. I played soccer and Gaelic football, so who do you compensate?" Tohill said after Collingwood training on Monday.

"Then can you really say that it was all me going to the Gaelic football club that's brought me in considering that it was me doing my own work and preparing myself in the gym, knowing that the club was pushing me to work hard.

"I think it has to be thought out if there was any form of compensation, but we'll just see what happens." 

 

The players are both fully aware of the risks of playing Gaelic football while contracted professionally, as well. 

Geelong's Mark O'Connor ran into trouble recently and was forced to apologise to club officials after they discovered he played in a Gaelic match in the off-season without the club's permission. 

Former Carlton player Ciaran Byrne suffered a serious leg injury while playing Gaelic football after retiring from the Blues.

"It would be good to play with your club as long as you don't get hurt. You risk getting hurt out here in training as well," Keane said.

Keane said the prospect of being injured made the thought of going back to Ireland to play with his county club in future not worth it, despite some Irish players calling for greater leniency to do so. 

Both players have worked closely with former Pie Marty Clarke – who played 73 games for Collingwood between 2007 and 2014 – and former Lion Colm Begley before starting their AFL careers.