Kerry’s Mark O’Connor signs up with Geelong
‘It’s a very quiet place, like Dingle, and I was very comfortable there’
“They were very happy for me personally, but as managers and players they weren’t as happy. They (Éamonn Fitzmaurice and Jack O’Connor) didn’t put any pressure on me to stay, they said it was my own decision.”
Former Kerry minor star Mark O’Connor has confirmed his signing of a professional rookie contract with Australian Rules Football club Geelong, having had trials with five different clubs last month.
O’Connor was one of the central playmakers in Kerry’s 2014 and 2015 All-Ireland minor triumphs under manager Jack O’Connor, and was also a member of the Hogan Cup winning Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne from Dingle, but is now set to start his senior career in a foreign game.
“Everyone wants to play with the best teams,” he told An Saol ó Dheas on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. “And I’ve made the decision to go to Geelong. It’s a very quiet place, like Dingle, and I was very comfortable there. I was really taken with Geelong, when I went in there, everyone was very friendly, and I felt at home there.”
“I want to go over as soon as possible. The other players won’t be coming until the end of the month, so I’ll have a few weeks on my own to work on my skills. It will be a different challenge. I’ve been playing football since I was six or seven. It’s attractive to stay here too (to play football for Kerry), that’s why the decision was so hard. I want a different experience, and maybe a little bit of travelling, I suppose I was looking for something different.”
He also said that the Kerry management team wished him all the best, that they were very happy for him on a personal level: “They were very happy to hear about it on a personal level, but with their Kerry caps on they weren’t as happy. I thanked them for all their help. It was a bit mixed I suppose. They were very happy for me personally, but as managers and players they weren’t as happy. They (Éamonn Fitzmaurice and Jack O’Connor) didn’t put any pressure on me to stay, they said it was my own decision.”
He starts out on a two-year contract, and confirming that he would be able to return home at Christmas, and for two months when the season finished in September.