Owen Mulligan has weighed in on the saga surrounding Cathal McShane’s future citing that the GAA doesn’t pay the bills.
The three-time All-Ireland winner also stated that Mickey Harte will be doing his level best to keep McShane in the Emerald Isle just as he did with Mulligan’s former teammate Sean Cavanagh.
McShane was in scintillating form in 2019 after a masterstroke from Harte saw the Owen Roes man switched to full-forward with devastating effect. He would go on to finish the championship as joint top scorer with 3-48 before winning a maiden All-Star award at full-forward late last year.
Last week, it was reported that McShane would be heading to Australia and penning a contract with the Brisbane Lions. Whilst that hasn’t fully materialised, it was confirmed today that he will be joining the Adelaide Crows for preseason training.
Mulligan claims there have been rumblings of McShane’s move for the past month in the county. The Paddy Power GAA Ambassador says the AFL have been flirting with the GAA’s top talent for quite some time now and that McShane’s physical attributes are an obvious attraction to clubs.
“Around Tyrone, for the past month, there’s been Chinese whispers about Cathal McShane been scouted for a move to Oz to play for Brisbane Lions. McShane’s performances alone last year were nothing short of pure brilliance. His direct running, showing for the ball, scoring and bringing others into play is what got him his well-deserved All-Star and all the accolades with it,” Mulligan said in his column for Paddy Power.
“The AFL has been flirting with our players for years now, offering lucrative contracts and the option of being a professional athlete, along with the sun and the lifestyle. McShane’s physique and the physical power that he possesses is a massive attraction for the Aussies, and the full forward position that he mastered for Tyrone this year scoring 3-48 is very similar to the position in AFL.”
The former All-Star winner doesn’t blame McShane or any other player for choosing to try their hand at the professional game. Mulligan understands that the financial gain from switching codes can be too hard to turn down.
“Social media has been going mental with people giving their own opinions. Who in their right mind wouldn’t take this opportunity of a lifetime? The GAA is a great community, and winning All-Ireland medals minor, U21, senior and All-Stars for your county is your ultimate gold. McShane has ticked a few of these boxes already at such an early age. But as my father once said to me, ‘no matter how many medals and awards you’ve won, they’ll not buy the grocery in Asda’. The financial gain from signing a two-year contract with the option of an extension would give any lad and his family a great head start in life.”
Mulligan believes that Mickey Harte will do everything in his power to keep McShane at home just as he did with Sean Cavanagh when the former Footballer of the Year was offered two separate AFL deals by the Brisbane Lions and Carlton Blues.
“Of course, there are some sad stories about players travelling over and it not working out. Micky Harte came out and said that in his interview after the McKenna Cup game against Cavan. Harte will try everything to keep his prize asset in the Red Hand jersey as he did with Sean Cavanagh all them years ago when the Aussie vultures were circling again. Micky has never been a fan of the compromise rules series and made no bones about it. Tyrone haven’t been that far away the past two years from the promised land and Micky Harte has every right to feel annoyed and frustrated that Brisbane Lions are trying to derail the county’s chances.
“McShane has a massive decision to make, either go to the AFL and become the success stories that Harte didn’t mention in his interview while just slating all the recruiters; players like the late Jim Stynes who won the Brownlow medal for player of the season, T Kennelly who won the league championship with Sydney Swans and came back to win an All-Ireland for Kerry, Marty Clarke, McKenna and Glass. The list goes on. Or he can stay and play for Tyrone and push for that All-Ireland the fans and County want back. When you think of it, it’s not a bad headache to have in January.”