Compensate for Irish signings, AFL told

David Smith
Pearce Hanley was scouted by AFL recruiters playing in Ireland's U17 international rules team

Gaelic football great Tomas O Se has slammed the return of the International Rules series and demanded AFL clubs pay compensation when they sign Irish players.

The five-time All-Ireland winner claims the return of the series, which will take place in Ireland in November 2020, is merely an opportunity for AFL clubs to scout and sign Ireland's best young players.

O Se, who played in the 2002 and 2005 editions of the two-match series, says Australia is contributing nothing to Gaelic football in return.

"We are an amateur sport, these lads are after falling on the perfect golden goose here," the former Kerry defender told the RTE GAA podcast.

"It is worth everything to them (Australia) because you can get a Tadhg Kennelly (Sydney), a Jim Stynes (Melbourne), there are so many examples.

"I do not get how we are going over and putting our best on show and allowing them a free pass to come over and pluck our players."

Given the amateur status of Gaelic football, the lure of a professional career is a tempting one for emerging Irish players.

"We make it far too easy, they (the AFL) contribute nothing to our society or our games, nothing," O Se said.

"We are dealing with a professional outfit here. Let them fork out."

A record 17 Irish players are on AFL lists for next year.

Promising Irish duo Ross McQuillan and Cian McBride will link up with Conor McKenna at Essendon having signed two-year rookie contracts, joining the likes of Mark O'Connor (Geelong), Conor Nash (Hawthorn), Zach Tuohy (Carlton) and Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast) in the AFL ranks.

There are also 18 players from Ireland committed to AFL Women's teams for 2020.

This include Mayo sisters Niamh and Grace Kelly (West Coast), All-Ireland winning Dublin duo Niamh McEvoy and Sinead Goldrick (Melbourne), Galway's Mairead Seoighe (North Melbourne) and Tipperary's Orla O'Dwyer (Brisbane).

"We have to be guarded," Dublin Ladies manager Tom Bohan told RTE.

"Are we preparing our girls to go to Australia? That's not what we want, no more than what we want with our male counterparts."

There have been several controversial incidents involving Irish AFL players competing in unsanctioned Gaelic Athletic Association matches in their homeland during the AFL off-season.

McKenna found himself in hot water for playing for his local club Eglish earlier this month while Nash and O'Connor were involved in similar incidents last year.