AFL Europe Talent Combine Review

The 2016 AFL Europe Talent Combine was held in Dublin on the 11th and 12th of November. 21 athletes from Europe were selected to attend the event to further showcase their athleticism and skills to a panel of recruiters from the AFL community. From this, 5 players will be nominated to attend the US Combine held in Florida where there will be a scout from every AFL club overlooking the talent.

Players arrived the evening of Thursday 10th November to the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Dublin, where they attended a ‘Welcome Dinner’ followed by an informal presentation hosted by former Sydney Swans player and current International Talent Manager, Tadhg Kennelly, who welcomed all players and presented them with their combine apparel.


Friday morning players completed a ‘Personality Profiling Assessment’, which will be used to gain a better understanding and insight into their mindsets.  After the testing, all athletes were taken to the University College Dublin (UCD), who hosted this year’s Combine.

All players’ height, weight, skinfolds, arm length and hand span was recorded to help form their sporting profile. The first fitness assessment was completed in three sections, the first section was a Speed Test comprising of a 20m Sprint which was tested in blocks of 5, 10, 20 meters. The second section was an AFL Agility Run and the third was a Running and Standing Vertical Jump.  All results were electronically recorded and generated for their sporting profile as well as for prospective clubs.


The second fitness assessment was the Beep Test, which tested their aerobic capabilities.  All athletes pushed themselves remarkably, resulting in some fantastic outcomes.

Later that afternoon all players were taken through an introductory skills session indoors. It was the first time for some athletes to pick up an AFL football, however; after a matter of minutes they managed to become extremely familiar with the skill set required. Tadhg and his team hosted multiple skills activities and decision making drills.

After a huge day of testing, all players looked forward to jumping into the pool for a quick recovery session to enable them to pull up ready for the next day of testing.


Later that night, players attended AFL Europe and AFL Club interviews. They were asked several questions based on their background, their inspirations and their aspirations for life. This permitted the testers to generate more contextual information for each of the player’s profile.


An early start on day Three of the AFL Europe Combine saw all players transported to the UCD Sports Fields where they performed multiple skills activities and then finally competing in a game of AFL and Gaelic Football. From this, recruiters and staff members were able to see all athletes’ capabilities in game form and were extremely happy to witness some incredible performances.


On Saturday afternoon all players, parents and AFL Representatives were invited to attend a casual lunch followed by a presentation from the AFL.  The presentation consisted of a short recap of Tadhg Kennelly’s journey to the Sydney Swans, a snapshot of how AFL recruitment works including the rules/the players welfare and lastly, an overview of living in Australia from the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Richard Andrews.

Overall, the 2016 AFL Europe Talent Combine was a major success; there were great results achieved and some amazing talent seen. We wish the best of luck to all 21 players and look forward to hearing about their future endeavors.

Article by Olivia Eason



AFL Europe Talent Combine

It’s that time of the year again!

This week is an important fixture on the AFL Europe event calendar. AFL Europe’s 2016 Talent combine will be held Friday and Saturday November 11th & 12th at University College Dublin. The talent combine brings 25 of the most talented football prospects from across Europe to profile them athletically, mentally and analyse their skills. From a fitness testing prospective we will be putting the athletes through the 20m sprint, AFL agility, vertical leap, running vertical leap and beep test. The boys will also put their problem solving skills to test their ability as they are scrutinized under pressure. Finally, we will be putting the athletes through full match simulation in order to evaluate their overall football capabilities. All of this testing and the entire event will be overseen by Irish ex-Sydney Swans  premiership player Tadhg Kennelly.

We are extremely excited for the event and are sure we will get some fantastic results!

Olivia Eason

Round 11 Broadcast Schedule – UK & Ireland

AFL Round 10 Broadcast Schedule for the UK & Ireland is:

3/6 10:30am BST (Live) North Melbourne v Richmond Tigers
4/6 5am BST (Live) Carlton Blues v Brisbane Lions
4/6 10:30am BST (Live) Fremantle Dockers v Essendon Bombers
5/6 4am BST (Live) Collingwood FC v Port Adelaide 
5/6 6:00am BST (Live) Western Bulldogs v West Coast Eagles
7/6 19:00 BST Highlights

For all games live and on demand jump onto and subscribe with the code AFLEUR2016

Fitzpatrick Cup

Having played host for the European Championships in August where they successfully defended their title, the Irish were flying high.

This was of course followed by a clean sweep in the two match International Rules series where Ireland demolished Australia by the biggest recorded margin in the competition’s history.

Accommodating the inaugural Fitzpatrick Cup in the last weekend of October was the icing on the cake for what has been a year of celebration for AFL in Ireland.

The cold weather in Dublin didn’t dampen the spirits of the competing university teams at this exciting tournament, which will no doubt add to the growth of the game throughout Europe.

The four competing clubs were Northern Regional College, (NRC) University College Cork (UCC), the newly formed Dublin City University (DCU) and the oldest AFL team outside Australia, Oxford University.

AFL Commission Chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick, whom the tournament is named after, kicked off proceedings at the Opening Ceremony, recalling stories from his time spent at St Johns College and his association with the Oxford University football club.

“I am very humbled that this great tournament is being held in my honour”, stated Fitzpatrick. “I look forward to seeing some potential AFL stars take the field today.”

AFL Europe Chairman, Chris Dow then addressed the special guests ahead of the knockout tournament.

“This is an historic day for AFL in Europe and each participating club”, he said.

The matches got underway just before midday, Saturday, with a fiery encounter between UCC and DCU. The newest team in the competition, DCU, didn’t want to give anything away and appeared dominant early.

UCC’s defence were able to hold off the early onslaught however, through the strength of full back and half back, who provided great run and counter attack into the forward line.

The half time scores reflected a hard fought first half of football by both clubs with UCC holding a slight advantage.

The 40-man squad of UCC had the fitness in the second half but DCU had plenty of spirit. Led by speedster, Caolite O’Baoill, the Dublin based university gave the tournament favourites a scare as they closed to within two goals just before the siren.

A stabilising goal by UCC full forward sealed his side the victory and a spot in the final.

Next up on the Islandbridge ground was the match between NRC and Oxford University.

Big man, Buckets Wolgomot dominated the ruck from the start of the match and Oxford were able to move the ball forward with purpose early on.

Fitzpatrick’s al mater capitalised on their quick movement into the forward line via a strong midfield outfit consisting of ball magnet, Tim Cole and former captain, Trav McLeod.

The game was won with a run of goals in the last quarter.

The siren to signal that the Grand Final was underway, sounded just after 2pm. University College Cork kicked away to an early lead in the opening term, winning most positions on the ground.

Oxford slowed UCC’s momentum in the second quarter through the defensive efforts of Matt McGilvray at Centre Half Back and Genie Duff who saved numerous goals on the last line of defence.

With the rain pouring down in typical Irish style UCC’s superior fitness shone as they piled on several unanswered goals in the third quarter to claim what proved to be a match-winning margin.

Oxford attempted a comeback in the last quarter but to no prevail. As the final siren sounded, the exhausted UCC players threw their hands in the air with elation, in the knowledge that they had etched their names into the history book, and claimed the title of Fitzpatrick Cup champions.

The final scorecard read, University College Cork; 7.11 (53) defeated Oxford University; 3.4 (22)

At the awards ceremony following the match, DCU Chairman and Captain, and Ireland national team midfielder, Caolite O’Baoill, took out the tournament’s Best and Fairest Award.

“It was a great tournament and I’m looking forward to playing in many more,” he stated. “[DCU] will train hard and come back next year ready to go.”

AFL Europe Chairman, Chris Dow was on hand to present the cup to UCC captain PJ O’Brien and coach, Eoin O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan, who was an instrumental player in Ireland’s 2011 International Cup and 2013 European Championships victories, was elated with his players efforts.

“This is a well deserved victory,” he stated. “The guys worked so hard on and off the field to prepare for this day and to come out and play the way they did is a testament to that endeavour.”


Competition photographs from Derek Clarke can be accessed via his Flickr page:


Scores on the day:

Semi Final 1: UCC 8.6 (54) vs DCU 4.7 (31)

Semi Final 2: Oxford 8.4 (52) vs Magherafelt 4.7 (31)

3rd Place Play-off: Magherafelt 7.5 (47) vs DCU 5.3 (33)

Final: UCC 7.11 (53) vs Oxford 3.4 (22)

AFL Europe - Fitzpatrick Cup - NRC Eagles v Oxford (26-10-2013) (21)