All-Ireland semi 'doesn't come up' between Oz teammates

Meath and Cork rivals Vikki Wall and Erika O'Shea now share the same AFLW dream as North Melbourne teammates
All-Ireland semi 'doesn't come up' between Oz teammates

NEW FRIENDS: Vikki Wall of Meath in action against Erika O'Shea of Cork during the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Semi-Final match between Cork and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

It's only 13 months since Vikki Wall and Erika O'Shea clashed in an All-Ireland semi-final for the ages, Wall and Meath memorably coming out on top.

Now the Meath and Cork duo share the same AFLW dream as North Melbourne teammates and are even housemates.

"That doesn't come up too much," smiled back-to-back All-Ireland winner Wall of the 2021 semi-final which Meath eventually won after extra-time. "A few of the girls out here were questioning whether we'd played together or against each other back home so there were a few brief conversations about that within the North Melbourne setup alright! But no, we haven't talked about it too much."

So far in season seven of the oval ball game, the Irish pair have played all five matches for their club, winning three and losing two. The losses were to Melbourne and Adelaide, both of whom featured in last season's grand final, and there are five regular round games to go. The Kangaroos are currently seventh in the table. A top eight finish in late October will yield qualification for the knock-out stages.

Whatever about reigning Player of the Year Wall adapting quickly to the game, O'Shea's development is even more impressive having just turned 20.

"From a personal perspective I'm glad I waited until I'm this age," said Wall. "I'm 24 now so I'm probably at a stage where I feel more confident coming over here. I don't know how I would have fared at a younger age. Erika is taking it in her stride and it's great to see. I think it's a big move no matter what age you are so it definitely takes a bit of time to adjust."

When, or even if, either of them will play for their counties again remains to be seen.

Both were All-Stars in 2021 and while O'Shea missed Cork's 2022 campaign, the likelihood is that Wall will be honoured again after another excellent season.

Meath, currently without a management team, would love to have her back for the defence of their National League and All-Ireland titles in 2023. That seems unlikely though with all the indicators that the AFLW season will start again in late summer.

"No plans at the moment," said Wall of 2023. "It's a bit of a waiting game which, in some ways, is kind of maybe prolonging it and things like that but in other ways it's nice to forget about it for a little while and just give my full devotion to what I'm doing at the moment. It (next year's AFLW season) will be a similar timeframe. It could be May it will start in, as in pre-season, if they introduce more games so we'll see."

Wall was happy to hear that former President Mary McAleese will chair an integration process between the GAA, Camogie and LGFA organisations.

"When you have someone with such experience as Mary McAleese, I don't think you're ever not going to be going in the right direction. It's all definitely on an upward trajectory. It's a really exciting time for the game back home to see that progress being made."

* Vikki Wall was speaking at the launch of the next phase of the National Dairy Council's 'From the Ground Up' campaign. The campaign highlights the hard work and commitment shared by top athletes and dairy farmers and includes a new TV and cinema campaign.


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