The former Cork hurling star recently signed a new one-year contract with the GWS Giants in western Sydney, which will see him through the 2013 season, good news after a potentially career-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in his first AFL game for GWS in May.
“It never entered my mind [to go home],” the 29-year-old told the Irish Echo. “When I finish football, I won’t be going home anyway. I really love Australia. It’s given me a lot. I see this place as my home now. It’s a great place.
“One day, I’d like to get married and have kids and I’d like to raise a family here. Especially with the recession back home the way it’s going.
“When I finish football I would like to continue to work with the Giants, maybe in the welfare area. Coming from my background, having left home as a young man to come to a new culture, I think I can help younger players who might be coming here to play football.
“They have no family, they have to begin again and create new friendships. That’s what I’m about, trying to help as many people as I can here.”
Ó hAilpín said the Australian Rules experience is one he would recommend to other GAA players.
“Any young kid in Ireland, if they get the opportunity to play professional sport, they should grab it with both hands,” he said.
“You can learn so much and even if you don’t make it, you can always go home and bring what you’ve learned with you and that could help the GAA.”