Ireland star Brendan O’Hagan leaves York for Australia return

Brendan O'Hagan Ireland News Images Credit: Alamy
Brendan O'Hagan Ireland News Images Credit: Alamy

Ireland international Brendan O’Hagan has been granted a release from his contract with York so he can return home to Australia.

The 24-year-old half-back joined the Knights ahead of the 2021 campaign, scoring 12 tries in 27 appearances.

Australia-born O’Hagan qualifies to represent Ireland through his grandparents. He made his international debut for the Wolfhounds last year, playing in all three of their group games at the World Cup.

On leaving York, O’Hagan said: “It’s been a long and hard-thought decision.

“For my personal life at the moment, it’s the right time to be back home in Australia and a lot closer to my family.

“It’s tough going across the other side of the world without your family around you. Now is the right time for myself and my family to go back and be a lot closer to them.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here in York but going back home in the off-season to see my family for the first time since moving away, it really made my decision about what I want.

“Over the last few months, it’s been tough and I’m happy with the decision I’ve made.”

Brendan O’Hagan reflects on his time at York with fond memories

The playmaker helped the Knights secure a spot in the Championship play-offs last season.

O’Hagan added: “I’ve loved my time here. It’s been a beautiful place to live and been such a great club to play for.

“My time here has been unreal. The fans have been so welcoming and I want to thank the club for bringing me over and the playing group, who are a great bunch of blokes.

“In the wider community, I’ve been taken in with open arms and it’s made my stay here a lot easier than others could imagine and I want to thank them for that.

“It’s just a shame that it’s had to come to an end now.

“The club is moving forward and I’m so happy to have been part of the journey.

“I wish the club nothing but success in the coming years. I’m sure that in the next few years, they’ll be up in Super League and be a heavy-hitter there too.”

York sad to lose key player

Knights coach Andrew Henderson said: “It’s really disappointing because I know what a quality player and person Brendan is.

“It’s disappointing that he doesn’t feel like York is the place for him at this time and he wants to return home.

“I was looking forward to working with him and developing him further as a player and a person and I know he had quality which would have added to this team.

“But the reality is you can’t control how people are thinking and feeling.

“He felt like, having not been home in a number of years, he really missed being home and asked for a release and I’m not going to stand in anyone’s way.

“This is just another challenge you face as a head coach and we’ll get through it.

“We’ve got two quality fit half-backs in Liam Harris and Ata Hingano, with Jamie Ellis on the return.

“Plus we’ve got Jesse Dee and Matty Marsh who can play in the halves too.

“I’ve got confidence that whoever we choose in the half-back positions will understand our systems, what we need and they’ll deliver.

“As much as Brendan will be sadly missed by the club and his team-mates, we’ll manage to carry on.”

Brendan O’Hagan departs with the club’s best wishes

York chairman Clint Goodchild said: “We are saddened by Brendan’s departure, not only for his on-field abilities but also for what he has done for the club off the field.

“As an active member of the community here in York, Brendan has served as a wonderful representative of the club.

“We are supportive of Brendan as he returns to Australia. I can speak first hand to the difficulties of being away from family for long periods of time.

“Brendan now has clarity over his future and feels the time is now right to depart.

“He will forever be welcome in York and we thank him for all he has done for the club.”

READ NEXT: York Knights confirm squad numbers for 2023

The article Ireland star Brendan O’Hagan leaves York for Australia return appeared first on Loverugbyleague.com.