Carlton chief reckons Aisake still has Oz future
CARLTON football operations manager Steven Icke has said the decision to cut Aisake ó hAilpín from the Aussie Rules club list was a difficult one but is confident that the Corkman still has a future down under.
Having played three seasons with the club, Aisake failed to play a senior game and was informed over the weekend that he would be let go by coach Brett Ratten.
"When you put four years into a kid, and we all saw his athletic potential, we were just hoping that his football potential would come on a bit quicker," Icke said.
"There was never any issue with his athleticism. It was more just his game understanding that we needed to see a bit more development."
Icke said that Aisake, who is currently at home in Cork, had not indicated to the club whether he planned to pursue his AFL career by nominating for the pre-season draft. The pre-season draft takes place after the main draft and players who are uncontracted can nominate themselves in a bid to be picked up by another club.
Despite the 23-year-old's delisting, Icke insisted that the Cork man could make a good addition to another club.
"He's got enormous athleticism. He's been in our system for four years and although he's not progressing as quickly as we would have liked him to he's got a great base and it could be a very fortuitous selection to make."
It's not been a good year for the Irish experiment at Carlton. Cork rookie Michael Shields returned home mid season after less than a year with the club. However, Icke maintained that recent failures at the club had not put the Blues off their Irish recruitment policy. In fact the Melbourne side may sign another Irish recruit in the near future and are considering Laois' Zach Tuohy, who already completed a trial with the club, and also Cork's Ciarán Sheehan.
"Not at all. We keep in regular contact with Zach. He's doing an AFL programme back in Ireland and hopefully diligently working to that programme. He's keeping us updated. He sends us dvds of his games. We've also got Ciarán Sheehan very much on our radar."
Setanta ó hAilpín's future with the Carlton Blues was also looking questionable last week with the club conceding that they had received some interest from other clubs during the trade period. But Icke said that with one year still on his contract, he was committed to having Setanta play a big role at the club in season 2009.