Simonstown Gaels manager Colm O'Rourke laments the loss of 'multi-talented' Conor Nash

Nash leaves for AFL side Hawthorn this week after signing a rookie contract

Conor Nash

Image: Youtube

Simonstown Gaels manager Colm O'Rourke says his side will miss the talent of AFL-bound Conor Nash after their defeat in the Leinster club SFC quarter-final this afternoon.

Simonstown were beaten by three points by Offaly side Rhode and O'Rourke says that a player of Nash's standard would be a loss to any team.

"He's a multi-talented fella, a nice fella who I had at school for the past five years," he told Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan. "He is a brilliant youngfella and will be a massive loss to our club. But, we won a championship which we probably wouldn't have won without him and we're very grateful that he was around for that time.

"It's just a pity that Hawthorn didn't feel like he should play today. They were strongly against him playing for us today. In fairness it went hard on him to see the rest of the lads going out and him not to go with him.

"He said in the last 10 minutes that he'd give it a go and he made a difference as soon as he came in as well... We're losing one of the strongest athletes who have ever come up through the ranks in Meath.

"He was only 18 in July and when you've got a man like that with the physique, pace, power and ability, it's a massive loss. But never say never. Maybe in two or three or five years time he'll come back and play a role for us."

Asked why he thinks Nash has decided to make the move, O'Rourke says that it could be as simple as wanting to broaden his horizons.

"For centuries, Irish people have travelled abroad for fame and fortune. Some went to London, New York, others went all over the world. They're educated and ambitious. They're looking outward at the world and for people with talent, the professional game will always be appealing."

Of the game itself, the Simonstown manager admitted his side may have taken their "off the gas" in the second half to concede defeat.

"Maybe we took our foot off the gas or the fact that you can't keep a team like Rhode with such experience down. They knocked over a lot of nice points before half-time. We seemed to lose our way. We had a couple of chances and we missed them.

"Overall at halt-time I wasn't unduly concerned to be two points behind. I felt the game was still very much in the balance. I thought the sending off and then their goal put us in a very difficult position. 

"But I was very proud of the fight back that we had and we kept searching for that goal would bring it to extra time."