AFL side Essendon announce signing of 20-year-old Armagh star

ESSENDON HAVE ANNOUNCED the signing of Ross McQuillan on an international rookie deal, with the Armagh native agreeing on a contract until the end of 2021.

The 20-year-old will join Tyrone’s Conor McKenna in the red and black. He’ll relocate to Australia in October before full training starts with the squad on 25 November.

An impressive athlete, McQuillan represented Northern Ireland in basketball and was named as a forward on the 2018 EirGrid U20 Team of the Year.

He’ll become the third Irishman to play for the Bombers, following McKenna and Longford’s Michael Quinn who lined out for the club between 2009 and 2010.

“After extensive sessions with Ross, we believe he has what it takes to become a successful AFL player given his lateral movement, skills on both sides of his body and kicking ability,” the club’s general manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro said.

“Ross ran an outstanding time of 2.77 seconds for his 20-metre sprint, which would make him the quickest player on our list.

“Most importantly, Ross displays the Essendon values through his drive and determination to succeed. We look forward to officially welcoming Ross into the club when he arrives in November.”

Next month Wexford native Barry O’Connor will move to Sydney after he agreed a deal with the Swans in June. 

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It means there will be 15 Irish male players on AFL lists next season. Sligo native Red Og Murphy recently returned home after a stint with North Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Donegal’s young star Oisin Gallen will travel to Australia next week to undergo a combine in front of AFL clubs.

Gallen, along with Meath U20 midfielder Cian McBride, will arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday and spend two weeks Down Under according to the Irish Independent. The combine runs from 1-4 October. 

Irishmen on AFL lists 2020

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), Darragh Joyce (St Kilda), Colin O’Riordan (Sydney), Barry O’Connor (Sydney), Ross McQuillan (Essendon).

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