St Kilda has reportedly secured the signature of an exciting Irish talent, beating out Carlton and Melbourne, who were understood to have shown significant interest.

The Saints, in an exciting development for the club ahead of this year's finals series, are understood to have acquired the services of Irishman Liam O'Connell from the Ballincollig Gaelic Football Club U20s in Cork, Ireland.

The 20-year-old rising star captured the attention of the likes of the Blues and Demons but settled on Moorabbin as his new home, with a number of AFL clubs reportedly present in Ireland scouting local talent as the 2023 season winds to a close.

O'Connell's shift from Gaelic football to Australian Rules was unveiled by Ballincollig manager Podsie O'Mahony, shortly after their Cork Premier SFC triumph over Carrigaline.

The news comes as a loss to Irish sporting outlets who are saddened to see a promising athlete depart their code. However, for footy fans down under, and particularly those donning red, white, and black, the move shapes as an exciting one, with the move expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

A habitant of the half-forward line, O'Connell showcased his prowess during Ballincollig's Round 2 victory over Carrigaline. Notably, he was a pivotal player in the Cork U20 team that contested the Munster U20 final against Kerry this year.

With St Kilda ultimately securing his commitment, O'Connell's inclusion will ideally add intensity and depth to the Saints' list as they hope to ascend to premiership contention.

With prior experience in Australia during his formative years, O'Connell's familiarity with the game is likely to smoothen his transition to the AFL.

St Kilda has embraced Irish talent previously, with Kilkenny local Darragh Joyce calling Moorabbin home before crossing to the Brisbane Lions.

The move continues a trend of promising Irish footballers crossing over to the AFL, expanding the global reach of Australian Rules.

The Saints stamped their finals ticket thanks to a stirring win over Geelong at Marvel Stadium, with a final-round matchup with the Brisbane Lions scheduled for the Gabba this Saturday afternoon.

Brisbane WON BY 12 POINTS