| 13.2°C Dublin

O'Reilly envious of former Down mates

HAVING become one of a very short list of Irish recruits to make a senior debut in his first season in Aussie FL, James O'Reilly will be glad of the distraction as his former side Down progress through the latter end of the championship.

Despite being thrilled with his new life as a professional footballer, the 22-year-old admits that he does feel a few pangs for home when he's watching his beloved county in action.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it," O'Reilly says. "It's human nature and you do think to yourself 'God I'd love to be out there'. Watching Down play Kerry in a packed Croke Park, how could you not think it?

"I've played for Down and a lot of the guys I won a minor All-Ireland with in 2005 are playing and now they're in an All-Ireland semi-final. But I don't regret anything. I'm out here and I've made the decision to pursue another adventure."

Ironically it's the AFL record of his county man Martin Clarke, as well as another Irish man who left Australia to chase All-Ireland silverware that he wishes to emulate.

"Tadhg Kennelly and Martin Clarke are the benchmark. They're what you get compared to. If I could achieve as much as Martin did in the three years he was here I'd be very happy with that."

While O'Reilly's AFL career is going into overdrive, Setanta ó hAilpín's continues to stall. The former hurler has been left out of the Carlton senior side for the fifth week running.