Young Donegal footballers Jason McGee and Eoghan ‘Bán’ Gallagher are in Australia this week and living the life of professional sportsmen.
They are in Brisbane, on the East Coast of Australia, where they are on trial for close on three weeks with top Australian Rules club, Brisbane Lions.
“It is a great opportunity for the two boys and we are really delighted for Jason,” said Cloughaneely GAA official and current Donegal Central Council representative Seamus O’Domhnaill.
“They are going for 18 days trial and I know from chatting to Jason he is planning to return when the trial is over.
“But if it goes well for him he may very well be offered a contract. It is a great opportunity for both Jason and Eoghan.
“While they will be a huge loss to both their clubs and the county we all wish them both well and hope it goes well for them.
“It all happened fairly quickly for them. They have known about it for some time and had been approached by an agent for Brisbane a couple of months ago.
“But with their involvement with Donegal and the run in to the championship they kept it quiet.
“Jason played for us on Friday night in the league against Glenfin and he told us after that he was heading to Brisbane for the trial.
“He flew out along with Eoghan on Monday and he has been in touch since with the club and he is looking forward to the next two weeks.
“He is very young and I don’t think he knows the full enormity of what is before him and the whole trial process.”
Jason McGee has two sisters in Australia, Natalie and Gillian. They are both working and living in Brisbane.
They were due to meet Jason and Eoghan Bán at the airport.
John Bán Gallagher, Eoghan Bán’s father, is a former Donegal footballer and the winner of five club championships with Killybegs.
John Bán is delighted for his son and sees it as a great opportunity for him to experience what it is like to be a professional footballer.
“It has all happened so quickly that it has taken all by surprise. The first we heard about it was after they lost to Galway,” said John Bán.
“He was feeling down after the Galway game and he was also disappointed the way the U-21 championship turned out. So this is a big lift for him.
“He was a little apprehensive but looking forward to the challenge and going out there and seeing what it is like to be a professional footballer.
“We haven’t heard much from him since he landed in Australia. As far as I know they are being shown around the club today and they don’t start the trial until tomorrow (Thursday).”
Jason McGee and Eoghan Bán Gallagher are two of the young rising stars in Donegal football.
They were drafted into the senior squad by Rory Gallagher, in the case of Eoghan Bán last season and Jason McGee at the end of last year.
And they have nailed down permanent places in the starting line-up, Eoghan Bán in defence and Jason at midfield.
Donegal captain Michael Murphy and Patrick McBrearty are the two most prominent Donegal players that have been linked with trials and moves to Australia.
Both Murphy and McBrearty attended trials a number of years ago which were held in Ireland. But despite intense speculation at the time about pending moves Down Under nothing ever materialised.
Jason McGee and Eoghan Bán Gallagher are the first high profile Donegal players to attend trials in Australia.