Former Kerry minor star Mark O’Connor signs with AFL club Geelong

FORMER MINOR ALL-IRELAND-WINNING captain Mark O’Connor has joined AFL club Geelong.

O’Connor played on Kerry’s victorious underage sides in 2014 and 2015, captaining Jack O’Connor’s charges in the latter, and has chosen the Cats after a number of AFL sides expressed interest in the Dingle man.

“I’ve made the decision to go to Geelong,” O’Connor, who has signed an international two-year rookie contract, told Radio na Gaeltachta’s An Saol ó Dheas this morning.

“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,” the 19-year-old midfielder added.

The news comes as a blow for Kerry as O’Connor had been widely tipped to progress to the Kingdom’s senior ranks in coming years.

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O’Connor admitted Kerry management were happy for him but had hoped that he would stay in Ireland.

“They were very happy to hear about it on a personal level, but with their Kerry caps on they weren’t as happy,” he said.

“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 didn’t put any pressure on me to stay, they said it was my own decision.”

O’Connor will move to Geelong, a city about 50km south-west of Melbourne, in the next three or four weeks.

The Cats are one of the most successful clubs in the AFL and have won three Grand Finals over the last 10 years.

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