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Roos next in line for Irish experiment

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 28: Conor Glass of the Hawks marks the ball during the 2017 AFL round 19 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 28, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Conor Glass was the 21st Irishman to make the transition from Gaelic football to the AFL

NORTH Melbourne is considering again taking a punt on Irish talent after the continued success rival AFL clubs are having.

Teenager Conor Glass became the 21st Irishman to make the transition from Gaelic football to playing in the AFL when he made his debut for Hawthorn in Perth a fortnight ago. 

The Kangaroos flew Rian O'Neill and Jack Kennedy – two of Ireland's best young prospects – to Melbourne last week, and club recruiters even travelled to Ireland last month. 

O'Neill and Kennedy watched Glass, 19, gather 11 disposals for the Hawks against Sydney at the MCG on Friday night. Another Irishman, Conor Nash, is a fellow Hawthorn rookie. 

O'Neill's older brother, Oisin, is also a talented Gaelic footballer, but has so far resisted the temptation to take the AFL route. 

Conor Meredith was on North's rookie list for two years after being drafted in 2008, but failed to play an AFL match, while countrymen Barry Reilly and James McCarthy trialled for the club in 2009. 

The Roos most recently missed out on signing Ireland's Mark O'Connor last year when he went to Geelong, but have maintained an interest in the space. 

Gold Coast's Pearce Hanley, Essendon's Conor McKenna and Cats defender Zach Tuohy are senior regulars, while Glass has featured in the Hawks' past two matches. 

Carlton also played Ireland's Ciaran Byrne and Ciaran Sheehan in the AFL this season.

AFL clubs can sign Irish players to their rookie lists under the International Player Rule without having to go through the draft.  

Each club can list one Irishman as a Category B rookie, but additional Irish footballers are considered Category A rookies, and that team must forfeit its last selection in the rookie draft.