O'Riordan has made a big impression in Australia. James Crombie/INPHO
Land down under

Tipperary lose Colin O'Riordan as dual star signs AFL contract

Darragh Joyce, meanwhile, is hopeful of securing a deal in Australia too.

TIPPERARY DUAL STAR Colin O’Riordan has signed an international rookie contract with the Sydney Swans after impressing at the Australian Football League Draft Combine.

The 19-year-old, an All-Ireland minor winner in both hurling and football, caught the eye of scouts at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium to secure a two-year contract.

“It’s unreal, it’s a dream come true,” he said.

“I fell in love with Sydney instantly and from the moment I arrived at the club I felt at home as everyone was so welcoming.

“It hasn’t sunk it yet but when I touch down in Ireland and see my family I’m sure it will.”

O’Riordan, as well as Kilkenny’s Darragh Joyce, were among 80 trialists put through their paces over four intensive days. Their speed, agility, jumping, endurance, handling, kicking and goal-kicking were put to the test by recruiters.

The JK Brackens man was named the young footballer of the year in 2014 and helped Tipperary to All-Ireland success as a 15-year-old in 2011.

His natural ability is something that caught the eye with Sydney’s recruiting manager, Kinnear Beatson, revealing O’Riordan made an instant impression. 

“Colin came to the club early this week for a trial and had a training session with members of our academy where he instantly impressed us,” Beatson said.

Colin O'Riordan lifts the trophy O'Riordan lifts the Munster U21 football championship in April. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“What struck us the most was how well he kicked the footy – he’s clearly been doing a lot of work on that – and he genuinely looks like an AFL footballer.
“He’s got great skills, takes the ball at the highest point when marking overhead, his work ethic and his competitiveness really shone out in the session he had with us.

“We’re really excited Colin has decided to join the Swans and we know he’s got the attitude and drive to give himself the best possible chance to forge a long and successful career.”

Joyce has yet to put pen to paper but is confident of securing a deal which would see him head to Australia.

“I’m out here to do business and get a contract,” Joyce said. “I’ve had interviews with the Swans, St Kilda, Essendon, Brisbane and the Bulldogs, so there has been a bit of interest.

“I’ve put college on hold to come out here and chase a dream.”

“It’s a fantastic opportunity.”

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