Irish AFL players set to go into quarantine when they return to Australia for season restart

Mark Keane and Anton Tohill are among the group of six Irish players in the AFL
Mark Keane and Anton Tohill are among the group of six Irish players in the AFL

Irish players in the Australian Football League are set to spend a fortnight in quarantine when they return to Australia for the resumption of the season.

Six players have been granted visas for their return and are due to arrive in Australia on Saturday.

Mark Keane, Anton Tohill, Cian McBride, Ross McQuillan, James Madden and Callum Brown had come back to Ireland because of the coronavirus lockdown in March.

The AFL season will restart on 11 June.

It was suspended after one round in March when travel and social distancing restrictions made the competition untenable.

Collingwood Magpies pair Keane and Tohill, Essendon Bombers duo McBride and McQuillan, Brisbane's Madden and Greater Western Sydney's Brown will need to spend a mandatory 14 days quarantined at designated hotels before returning to their clubs.

Australia's borders remain open only to citizens, residents and immediate family members but the Irish contingent were granted visas to allow them to return, the AFL said.

"We've been working together with a few of those clubs who have the Irish boys over there," Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh told the AFL's website

"Our boys will be back on that flight and then they'll go into quarantine for two weeks obviously, but the good news is that they'll be here on the weekend."

Irish players, many with a background in Gaelic football, have become a celebrated part of the AFL landscape since the first athletes arrived Down Under in the 1980s.