Barry O’Connor has moved a step closer to becoming the first Wexford man to play in the AFL after being elevated to the senior list by Sydney Swans.
A son of Model County legend, George, O’Connor is being considered as an option with the side suffering a series of injuries among their tall players.
The 6’3’’ St Martin’s product signed for Sydney in June 2019 and has made significant progress, even though being trained as a central defender, rather than the customary counter-attacking half-back role that GAA recruits tend to be deployed in.
O’Connor has impressed coaches with his speed and agility for his height and with Isaac Heeney and Sam Naismith laced on the Swans’ long-term injury list, could now be given an opportunity in a side that was already the youngest to line out in the league in the previous round, when they defeated Hawthorn.
Executive general manager of football, Charlie Gardiner praised the progress O’Connor has made in such a short space of time despite the unusually trying environment he has found himself in.
“Barry joined the club from Ireland last year and has impressed with the way he has adapted to the game” said Gardiner.
“It’s been a whirlwind first year for Barry, arriving to the bushfires and then having the season postponed (due to Covid-19). But through all of that he’s shown great resilience and has worked hard on his skills and the technical aspects of the game