Tyrone star forward Cathal McShane set for Australia move to begin AFL career
Tyrone boss Mickey Harte may have to plan without star forward Cathal McShane for at least two seasons with the 24-year-old looking poised to make a sensational switch to the AFL.
McShane, an All-Star last season after finishing as top scorer, has been a shining light for the Red Hand in recent years but he looks set to commence his AFL career with the Brisbane Lions according to Tyrone GAA website Teamtalkmag.
It would be a hammer blow for Harte should McShane opt to make the move Down Under and it is believed that the Owen Roe’s clubman will fly out to Australia in the coming days where the deal could be finalised.
Just before Christmas, McShane denied he was moving. But according to the website the deal to take the 24-year old to Brisbane is back on the table.
McShane was one of the stand-out performers in the 2019 All-Ireland series. While Tyrone failed to reach the Ulster or All-Ireland finals he scored 3-48 in the series making him joint top scorer with Kerry’s Sean O’Shea (1-54)
Should he sign with Brisbane, McShane will link up with Dublin's James Madden at the Lions and become the second member of the 2013 Tyrone minor side to play AFL.
Conor McKenna was also part of the side which reached the 2013 All-Ireland minor final and has forged a successful career with the Essendon Bombers.
McShane, an All-Ireland U-21 winner in 2015, is likely to have caught the eye of AFL scouts last season with a series of mercurial displays in attack while his ball-winning ability is another major plus should he depart for Oz.
With Harte already without the services of skipper Mattie Donnelly for a large chunk of 2020 due to injury, he will hope that McShane has a change of mind as they commence the new year with a Dr McKenna Cup tie against Cavan on Sunday in Omagh.
McShane first came to the fore at minor level for Tyrone featuring on the side beaten by Mayo in the 2013 All-Ireland final.
In 2015 McShane won an All-Ireland U-21 medal when Tyrone beat Tipperary and he also won a Sigerson Cup medal with St Mary’s College in Belfast.
Ironically, Tyrone boss Harte is a long-time critic of the links between the AFL and the GAA.