CLUBS have been gauged on their interest in returning to Ireland as a recruiting hunting ground as the AFL considers restarting its overseas talent Combine.

The League has not held an Irish Combine for male and female players since 2019, with 2020 and 2021 wiped out due to the global pandemic, but has put the region back on the radar for clubs looking for talented athletes to bolster their lists.

Clubs have been asked to register their interest levels in the AFL running the scouting and Combine program in Ireland for the men's and women's competitions, having in previous years prior to COVID-19 selected a squad of potential recruits from Gaelic football to test and train in front of club recruiters.

Some clubs have used their own scouts in Ireland to assess the talent available and try to recruit players to the Australian game while others have relied on the AFL's Combine as the best measure of prospects. 

Deividas Uosis soars at the 2019 AFL Europe Combine. Picture: Inpho/Laszlo Geczo

Former Collingwood defender Marty Clarke has in the past held a position with the AFL as a mentor to Gaelic footballers considering a code switch.

Closed international borders and the effects of travel and quarantining due to COVID-19 has made for a challenging time for many Irish players based in Australia, with several, including Collingwood pair Mark Keane and Anton Tohill and Essendon's Ross McQuillan, all choosing to move back to Ireland and quit their AFL careers. 

Oisin Mullin, considered a rising star of the Gaelic code, signed with Geelong in November in a coup for the Cats but then decided to remain in Ireland to play for Mayo rather than come to Australia.

Oisín Mullin in action for Mayo during the GAA All-Ireland Final at Croke Park in 2020. Picture: Getty Images