Hanley sees a future in Green and Red
Mayo native Pearce Hanley may be a pretty hot prospect Down Under at the moment, but he can envisage playing for his county again in the future.
Mayo fans watching a beefed-up Hanley do his stuff for the Irish International Rules side in Melbourne would have done so with a touch of longing for what might have been had the Ballaghdereen man remained in Ireland, but they will be heartened to know that he intends on doing a Tadgh Kennelly and returning home to play for the Yew County in the future.
Before we jump the gun and get Mayo fans – an extremely optimistic bunch by nature – all excited, we should interject with the fact that Hanley doesn’t think he’ll be back in Ireland for a few years yet.
"When championship time comes around, I wish I was at home, but I have a great life out here," Hanley told the Irish Independent.
"If Ireland had Australia's weather it would be the best country in the world. You can't beat the weather, the beaches, the sea over here."
"James Horan is doing a very good job with them so maybe the All-Ireland isn't far away," he stated.
"As for me playing for Mayo, I'm still only 22 so hopefully there are a lot of years left in my career. Down the line, I'd like to go back and see how I could get on with Mayo."
Hanley’s career with the Mayo seniors was an extremely brief one. Having been something of a prodigy at underage level, he appeared under John O’Mahony in the 2007 Championship campaign before a flirtation with Aussie Rules resulted in a trek Down Under to play with the Brisbane Lions.
Hanley was elevated to the Lions’ senior list in 2009 and enjoyed an excellent last campaign, at the end of which he was voted joint-fourth on the club’s best and fairest list. Mayo managed to reach an All-Ireland semi-final in his absence last season, but he would be a serious addition to the side if and when he does return home.
Tadgh Kennelly won an All-Ireland Final in his first year back and Marty Clarke was on the losing side in the decider when he came home. Whether Hanley could have a similar impact on a Mayo side awaiting their first All-Ireland in over 60 years is another matter.