Sydney Swans impressed with progress of Tipperary star Colin O’Riordan

Sydney Swans head coach John Longmore is astounded at how quickly Colin O’Riordan has taken to Australian Rules.
Sydney Swans impressed with progress of Tipperary star Colin O’Riordan

The Tipperary 20-year-old signed a two-year international rookie contract with the AFL club last November and has been impressing the coaching staff ever since.

“It’s really surprised us,” said Longmore. “He hasn’t had much exposure to much at all in regards to AFL football obviously, coming from Ireland. He’s been fantastic, just super the way he competes and the way he gets the most out of himself in every session.

“Colin has adapted really well to the skill components. He’s actually surprised us. He looks as though he has been kicking an AFL ball for a long time. It hasn’t been an issue for him at all. He’s fitted right into our training group.”

Longmore has been enthused by the competitive nature of last year’s Tipperary U21 football captain. “In terms of game sense, he’s had no problems, having played Gaelic football in Ireland which is a similar sport. It’s obviously helped with that. But what’s stood out the most is that he’s a massive competitor, which fits in really well with AFL football and what we need.”

Among a record number of Irish players in the AFL this season, O’Riordan recently spoke about the challenges he’s faced in the last few months: “I’ve learned how professional ‘professional’ really is. You think the GAA is professional, but when you come over here, you realise it has a long way to go.

“You’d wake up crippled some mornings from pre-season here, you’d be aching and wonder how you’re going to train that day. You’d question ‘why am I here at all? How am I even going to get out of the bed?

“You have to prepare yourself for the toughest physical test you’re ever going to take in your life and that’s the mindset you need. It’s mind over matter, really.”

Meanwhile Wexford senior football manager David Power has added former Irish basketball international star and TV commentator Tim McCarthy to his backroom team for the 2016 campaign.

McCarthy is regarded as one of the country’s greatest-ever basketball players and during his international career, he racked 103 caps, 58 of those as captain.

And Power admits that he’s been blown away by the knowledge that McCarthy has already brought to the Wexford camp. He said: “Tim’s a very modest guy and is adding something different. I’m learning loads off him and he’s bringing a different approach. If anyone follows me, they’ll know that I keep trying to change, develop and keep the thing fresh. Tim will be working a lot with our defence.”

Power, meanwhile, has also hailed the appointment of Brian Malone as Wexford captain for the 2016 campaign.

The Shelmaliers clubman takes over the role from Ciaran Lyng, who’s not due back in action until March as he recovers from injury.

Power also revealed that goalkeeper Shane Roche and defender Michael Furlong are both expected to miss the majority of Wexford’s Allianz League Division 4 campaign through injury,.

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