ESSENDON is in the box seat to sign Irish standout Ross McQuillan for next season. revealed last week that the Bombers and Tigers were both keen to recruit McQuillan, the most promising prospect from last year's AFL Europe Combine.

It is believed Essendon will bring the 20-year-old from Country Armagh to Australia again in the near future and his preference is to play in the red and black, alongside countryman Conor McKenna.

Ireland's McQuillan, Luke Towey, Ronan Devereux and Peadar Mogan spent time with the Bombers, Richmond, North Melbourne, Carlton and Collingwood in April.

TIGERS OR BOMBERS Big Vic clubs in tug of war for pick of the Irish crop

Essendon has informed Towey, who was being considered by the same two clubs, it won't pursue him.

McQuillan, who stands 186cm, ran the fastest 20m time at the combine (2.77sec), plays in an aggressive manner and is already a good kick on both feet.

FROM COUNTY TIPPERARY TO SYDNEY Navigating the brain drain

Irishmen James Madden (Brisbane), Mark Keane and Anton Tohill (Collingwood), Stefan Okunbor (Geelong), Callum Brown (GWS Giants) and Red Og Murphy (North Melbourne) joined AFL clubs this year.

BIG BARRY Swans sign 193cm Irishman after two-week trial

Sydney also signed their 193cm countryman Barry O'Connor in early June ahead of next season, meaning there will almost certainly be a record number of AFL footballers from the Emerald Isle.

The current most is 14 on playing lists in 2019. 


James Madden (Brisbane), Mark Keane (Collingwood), Anton Tohill (Collingwood), Conor McKenna (Essendon), Mark O'Connor (Geelong), Stefan Okunbor (Geelong), Zach Tuohy (Geelong), Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast), Callum Brown (Greater Western Sydney), Conor Glass (Hawthorn), Conor Nash (Hawthorn), Red Og Murphy (North Melbourne), Darragh Joyce (St Kilda), Colin O'Riordan (Sydney), Barry O'Connor (Sydney)*

* Not eligible to play until next season