News Orla O'Dwyer, Welcome to the Den!

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Oct 6, 2018
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New Lion's roundabout way back to Australia

Michael Whiting, AFL Media

Oct 25, 2019 8:53AM











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Orla O'Dwyer was born in Sydney, has lived most of her life in Ireland and now calls Brisbane home.

It was a roundabout way of getting back to the country of her birth, but the Tipperary Gaelic football and camogie star is quickly settling into her new life as an AFLW player with the Lions.

She became the first Irish woman to sign with Brisbane, inking a deal mid-year, and after a 24-hour travel to Australia less than a fortnight ago, was unveiled at the Gabba with Brisbane's new draftees on Wednesday.

O'Dwyer said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"I played camogie (essentially a women's version of hurling) and Gaelic football in Ireland and they're amateur sports … to get the opportunity to come overseas and play a sport at a more professional level is obviously something every athlete aspires to do," she said.

"It's definitely a big challenge but I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Now 20, O'Dwyer was born in Sydney but spent just the first year of her life in Australia before her parents ended a four-year travelling expedition by taking their new family back to their Irish homeland.

A proven performer at both of her chosen sports, the ever-smiling O'Dwyer said having so many Irish players in the AFLW – there's now 18 in total – gave her confidence.

"A lot of the skills are transferable from Gaelic football, the reading of the game, the kicking and the way the game works, it's just the oval shape that's different from the sphere, it's hard to get used to," she said.

"Some of the girls that came over last year, there was five of them, Aisling McCarthy (Western Bulldogs) was from the same county as me, and she got on very well.

"Of course there's Cora Staunton (GWS) who was one of the first out here has got on so well.

"Seeing how successful they were, it gave us in Ireland (the thought), 'if I got a chance I'd love to go as well'.

"It's definitely a more physical game, lots more contact, but I'm looking forward to that."

 

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