Good news for Westmeath GAA as Israel Ilunga is granted Irish citizenship
The Liberian born teenager is here to stay....
Israel Ilunga is one of the most promising footballers in Westmeath and he's now tipped to become a future mainstay of the county's defence after being granted full Irish citizenship.
The youngster played at full back for the Lake County in their recent Leinster Minor Championship defeat to Offaly and is highly regarded in GAA circles.
Speaking in the Irish Examiner today, Westmeath minor manager Tommy Carr expressed his delighted at the news: "This is very important for Westmeath football going forward. He has been granted citizenship and for Israel himself, it is a big weight off his mind."
Carr says the move clears up a lot of uncertainty that's surrounded the young player in recent times: "It’s very difficult to commit to a community or a country let alone a GAA team when you’re wondering if you could be gone in a month’s time.
"That fear was absolutely there. You put yourself in that position, when you’re waiting on someone to decide if they’re going to deport you back to Liberia or leave you here.
"I think you’d find that a very difficult situation to be in. So it really is terrific news."
Ilunga's progress is being tracked by Aussie Rules scouts after Tadhg Kennelly chose him to take part in trials last winter.
He's definitely one to watch.