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Orlagh Lally (right) and Vikki Wall celebrate at Meath's homecoming in Navan on Monday.
Orlagh Lally (right) and Vikki Wall celebrate at Meath's homecoming in Navan on Monday.
Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

'It's been really exciting' - All-Ireland win, 21st birthday celebrations and Oz adventure

Meath star Orlagh Lally has landed in Perth, with team-mate Vikki Wall departing today.
Aug 5th 2022, 11:32 AM 6,243 0

FROM CROKE PARK to Australia, with no shortage of All-Ireland and 21st birthday celebrations in between, Meath star Orlagh Lally is all set for her next chapter in the AFLW after a whirlwind few days.

Lally landed in Perth on Thursday, and has since linked up with her new side Fremantle Dockers. Her team-mate Vikki Wall departs for North Melbourne today.

Midfielder Lally was welcomed at the airport by captain Hayley Miller with a bouquet of flowers, before they headed straight to the club to meet her new team-mates — including Irish duo Áine Tighe and Amy Mulholland — after training.

“It’s been pretty busy,” Lally told the Fremantle website. “We obviously won the All Ireland back at home and we had a big celebration and I had my 21st thrown into the mix and then jetting off here. It’s been really exciting and a really good time.

“It was amazing, just coming off the plane and having Hayley and Darryn (AFLW Football Operations Manager) and Claire (AFLW Player Development Manager), it’s great to put a face to a name. Everyone has been so welcoming.

“I’m really looking forward to starting training, and getting to mix and bond with the girls from now on in.”

Lally also had a word for team-mate Wall and the support from the Royal county in the wake of their stunning back-to-back All-Ireland success, having overcome Kerry in last Sunday’s final in front of 46,440 fans.

“Vikki is on my team at home and she’s heading to North Melbourne. We’ve been really lucky to have each other to know what to bring, what to expect and to be able to help each other and practice.

“Everyone at Meath has been amazing, it’s been hard saying goodbye to your team-mates, we’re so close to each other and it’s hard to be leaving everyone when we’re on such a high, but they’ve been so supportive the whole way.”

Freo face Richmond in a practice match on Saturday. Lally is due to watch from the stands, but Tighe and Mulholland are both included.

“Amy Mulholland has had an interrupted preseason with a finger injury, but she’ll get a chance on the weekend to show what she can do,” as head coach Trent Cooper said of the former Armagh footballer and dream draftee.

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With 21 Irish players set for the new AFLW season, which kicks off later this month, new recruit Erika O’Shea has made an immediate impact. The Cork star, Wall’s new team-mate at North Melbourne, caught the eye in her side’s pre-season win over Collingwood.

“All the way from the village of Macroom in Ireland, former Gaelic footballer Erika O’Shea looms as an instant sensation for North Melbourne. The 19-year-old was tireless on Wednesday night as she danced to evade opponents, hit targets by hand and took territory by foot,” as the Kangaroos’ match report reads, with head coach Darren Croker adding:

“We’ve seen glimpses of it at training. Erika has great athleticism, a great combination of speed and endurance, and she’s actually quite good overhead.

“I thought she saved us on a number of occasions, just being able to get a tackle or a hand in, just because of the way she can cover the ground.

“It was a very, very strong first-up performance, playing a totally different sport.”

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Emma Duffy

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