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Another blow for Derry as Brown joins Tohill on AFL adventure

 

Big test: Callum Brown faces a stiff challenge in the AFL
Big test: Callum Brown faces a stiff challenge in the AFL
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Derry manager Damian McErlain has more reason than most to see talented young players remain in the county.

After all, the Oak Leafs will start 2019 in Division Four of the Allianz League and McErlain will surely be hoping to groom future talent.

But, having been faced by a raft of absentees at the start of this year, McErlain must now resign himself to the fact that two of the best young players in the county have committed themselves to carving out careers in the Australian Football League.

While it is disappointing for Derry, nonetheless, Anton Tohill and Callum Brown are now offered the attractive prospect of pursuing potentially lucrative careers with Collingwood and Great Western Sydney Giants respectively.

The duo are due to depart early next month to begin preparations for the AFL, which will commence in March.

Tohill is a son of 1993 Derry All-Ireland-winning midfielder Anthony Tohill, who played for Melbourne Demons in the 1990s before returning home to resume his Gaelic football career.

Anton is keen to make a success of his career, as is Brown, who turned in some impressive performances for Derry in this year's Ulster Under-20 Football Championship.

The latter has already been assessed by former Cavan footballer Nicholas Walsh, who is a defensive coach with the Great Western Sydney Giants.

Brown then flew to Australia in August to spend two weeks training with the Giants under coach Leon Cameron, who was apparently well pleased with his protege.

It is understood that the teenage north Derry giant is highly rated by the club and he is now expected to be given every chance to forge out his new career.

He certainly left his Limavady Wolfhounds club on a high, having helped them win their first Derry junior title since 2003. The club had been hopeful that Brown, who can play at midfield or up front, might stay, but the lure of a new sporting career was too great.

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