Tipperary dual star signs for Brisbane Lions as Irish invasion of AFLW continues

TIPPERARY DUAL STAR Orla O’Dwyer is set to try her hand at a new code in the coming months after signing for AFLW side Brisbane Lions.

The Premier camogie captain — who won an All-Ireland intermediate title with the footballers in 2017 — has penned a rookie deal ahead of the league’s fourth season, joining a strong Irish contingent Down Under.

“AFLW is something completely new for me and I’m looking forward to the challenge that’s involved with learning a new sport and living in a completely different country,” says O’Dwyer, who applied to global platform CrossCoders. 

“I think it’s great for women’s sport to have this opportunity and I’ve decided to choose AFLW while I’m still very young and because it’s such a great experience.” 

The Tipp native’s new coach Craig Starcevich says he was impressed by O’Dwyer’s ‘speed, power and aggression’. 

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“She’s a tremendous athlete who’s got great power and speed but is tough too,” he says. “Watching the way she attacks a game both in camogie and football – well, there was a lot to like about the way she goes about it.”

20-year-old O’Dwyer has been at the centre of several dual debates and clashes through the years, but carries on doing her best to give 100% to both — and excel at that.

Last July, she played two inter-county games in four hours, while in August she had two in two days at opposite ends of the country. But she continued both because she loves them.

“I love the two of them so much,” as she told The42 last January. “I love being able to play the two of them.

“I think they both benefit each other. As in football, you have to be so fit for it. When I train with the football, I feel like I’m really fit for the camogie. Then, camogie makes me really strong which is good for the football as well.

“I wouldn’t be able to pick. I love the two of them, so I’m happy out.”

Now, the University of Limerick student will embark on a new challenge when the championship season ends over her — becoming the eighth Irish player confirmed for the 2020 AFLW season so far.

Mayo’s Kelly sisters — Niamh and Grace — pen to paper and signed rookie deals at the newly-formed West Coast Eagles last week, while Sarah Rowe (Collingwood), Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner (GWS Giants), Ailish Conisidine (Adelaide Crows) and O’Dwyer’s Tipperary team-mate Aisling McCarthy (Western Bulldogs) have all re-signed after their outstanding contributions last season.

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