ALL-Ireland winning Kerry minor goalkeeper Deividas Uosis has just completed his move to Australia where he has signed a two-year professional contract with Brisbane Lions.
One of the stars of the Kingdom’s brilliant 2017 win in Croke Park, a key part of the under 20 set-up last season and previously with a highly rated Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne team, he was due to travel down under last summer put Covid-19 travel restrictions put paid to that plan.
The 20-year-old netminder, who has also played outfield with his club, has now left his West Kerry home for an exciting opportunity in the AFL, following in the footsteps of his Dingle clubmate, Mark O’Connor, who joined Geelong in 2016, and Stefan Onkubar of Na Gaeil who is with the same club.
Born in Lithuania, where he lived until he was four, Deividas is a fluent Irish speaker and he and his family have loved life in Dingle since arriving in the town in 2004.
In an interview with RTÉ, he said he was disappointed that he couldn’t travel out in the summer but Lions coaches had sent him personalised training programmes to help work on his strength and conditioning at home.
“I’m going out there completely on my own. I’ll have to make new friends. It’s a new country, a new game and I’m starting out on a new life. I’m really excited about it,” Deividas told reporter Seán Mac an tSíthigh.
After arriving in Brisbane, Deividas must self-isolate for two weeks before joining his new clubmates in Brisbane.
He impressed scouts at AFL trials in Dublin in December 2019 and he agreed to avail of the offer of a two-year rookie contract with the Lions.
Kerry has already lost powerful midfielders Mark O’Connor from Dingle and the versatile Stefan Okunbor, from the Na Gaeil club, who both currently line out with Geelong Cats.
Uosis, O’Connor and Onkubar have followed in the footsteps of Tadhg Kennelly and Tommy Walsh to live the professional dream but the impact it is having on Kerry football has given some cause for concern.
County Board Chairman, Tim Murphy, had previously said that the lure of the AFL continued to be a huge challenge for the GAA with the voluntary organisation struggling to compete with a professional sport.
It is known that AFL scouts had also been also closely monitoring David Clifford some years ago but the Killarney player opted to concentrate on Gaelic football to try to realise his dream of winning All-Ireland titles with the Kingdom.
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