Saturday 16 December 2017

Heslin's Aussie dream looks to be at an end

IT looks as though John Heslin's Aussie Football League career is unfortunately over before it really began.

The 19-year-old Richmond Tigers signing has returned home to Westmeath "indefinitely" due to homesickness.

It's a big blow to the Melbourne club's Irish recruitment programme after Down's Jamie O'Reilly also decided against extending his contract with the club at the end of last season ... but this cloud could have a silver lining for Westmeath fans who have seen their senior team make a demoralising start to 2012.

"It's never easy for young players to relocate to a new country, a long away from their family and friends," said Richmond Tigers' general manager of football, Craig Cameron.


"John found that transition difficult, and has experienced homesickness," added Cameron.

The Westmeath teenager, who remains eligible for another two years at under-21 level, had also trialled with Essendon before putting pen to paper with the Tigers.

"We have worked hard to support John and will continue to do so, but we understand his decision to return home at this time," Cameron said.

Contacted today, Westmeath secretary Pat Lynagh said he had heard rumours but nothing concrete.

"We would be disappointed for himself that his dream to Australia is on hold," added Lynagh, while admitting it would be "great for us" were the St Loman's clubman Heslin to return to play football in Westmeath.

In better news for the AFL's Irish contingent, Down's Caolan Mooney will make his debut for Collingwood in the NAB cup as they take on the Western Bulldogs and GWS in Blacktown in Western Sydney tomorrow night.

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