Vikki Wall. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
cold water

'I can confirm Vikki's not going to play rugby' - Meath team-mate laughs off Wall report

Emma Duggan is sceptical about a potential switch to rugby for Vikki Wall.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Jan 2023

MEATH SHARPSHOOTER EMMA Duggan has brushed off a report that her dual star team-mate Vikki Wall could be set for a dramatic switch to rugby.

The Irish Independent reported on Wednesday that talks are at an early stage between the IRFU and Meath star Wall, but that the union is hopeful she could potentially join their newly-created full-time professional programme.

Wall is currently juggling Gaelic football and AFLW commitments, splitting her life between Meath and Melbourne.

The 2021 Footballer of the Year and All-Star has committed to the Royals’ three in-a-row bid, and is also still under contract at North Melbourne for the new AFLW season which is likely to begin in August.

Speaking to the media at the 2023 Lidl Ladies National Football Leagues launch yesterday, Duggan welcomed her Dunboyne clubmate and close friend’s availability for the upcoming inter-county GAA season, but was sceptical about the rugby switch.

“I briefly saw [the report] – the things that they latch onto,” the back-to-back All-Ireland senior champion said. “I can confirm Vikki’s not going to play rugby.”

Asked if such a move might interest Wall, Duggan added: “Ah look, Vikki is a very spontaneous person. She could go off and do anything, but she’s just about getting the hang of one sport along with another one. She’s a very quick learner though, she’s brilliant.”

Wall impressed through her debut AFLW season despite missing the majority of pre-season and flying out in the days after Meath’s second consecutive All-Ireland win in July.

She was home for Christmas, enjoying Meath’s team holiday to Gran Canaria for New Years, though is heading back Down Under before reconvening with the Royals in “April or May”.

“That’s obviously not concrete but she’ll be there for championship,” Duggan assured.

kerry-v-meath-tg4-all-ireland-ladies-football-senior-championship-final Duggan and Wall after last year's All-Ireland final. Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“She loved it,” she continued on Wall’s experience. “The lifestyle is the dream, really, like it’s so laid back. You’re getting paid for what you’re doing. Your days are free to solely focus on your sport, which is what any athlete dreams of. That professional life.

“She loved that sense of it but I suppose, in a way, it made her more grateful for Gaelic at home. It’s your first love. The games are quite different, despite what people say about it being similar. I think the AFL is quite structured, it’s quite technical in a way, which can kind of have an effect on how you play the game, whereas I would like to think football is very free-flowing. You have lots of freedom on the pitch, so there is so many aspects that she loved but obviously so many aspects of Gaelic that she is like, ‘That is why I love it.’”

Meath’s other AFLW star, Orlagh Lally of Fremantle, is also available for 2023 in a boost for new manager Davy Nelson and his backroom team.

“It’s huge,” Duggan nodded. “Any day you have both Orlagh and Vikki on your side, you’d hope it’s going to be a good day. They’re two of the top players in the country at the minute, so to have them there, it’s huge and obviously gives us massive confidence knowing that they want to commit and play championship football for Meath.”

Duggan — fresh from an extended individual break before Christmas — hadn’t crossed paths with Nelson before his appointment, though is optimistic about the new set-up as they look to retain the double.

“I didn’t actually know him before, It’s all very new. But although there’s a lot of change, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’ll be fresh ideas, new ideas and that’s how we’re approaching it, embracing the challenge ahead.

“We’ve obviously lost Emma Troy and Aoibheann Leahy [to travel] but they’re the only two players really, the core group is still sticking around and that’s really positive. People want to achieve more which is great and we’ve about 12 new girls in, lots of the minor team from last year, and they’re keeping us all on our toes.”

Meanwhile, Dublin star Carla Rowe has explained the story behind her meeting with new Manchester United signing Wout Weghorst.

The All-Ireland winning forward appeared in a photograph with the Dutch striker which was posted on the United Instagram account, leaving eagle-eyed Dublin supporters with plenty of questions.

“I was at the United-City game on Saturday and did the tour on Sunday and we were down at the bottom pitchside and he was out getting his official photos for the club and came over and got a photo of us.

“Then Manchester United put it up on their socials, it was pretty mad. I didn’t even know it was up until some of the girls messaged me. One of the girls sent me the photo and said, ‘Am I going insane or is that you? It was pure random. There was a few little kids on the tour and I was like, ‘Move kids!’, but politely of course!

“It was a great weekend. I think [Erik] ten Haag seems to be doing things right, putting his own little spin on things so fingers crossed.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel