Tipperary Under 21 Captain Colin O'Riordan (hand on cup) celebrates with his teammates after their victory in the Munster final against Cork in 2015 at Semple Stadium.
Former Tipperary Gaelic football star Colin O’Riordan will make his professional debut for Aussie Rules side Sydney Swans on Sunday next against North Melbourne in the AFL.
The JK Brackens (Templemore) clubman, whose father Michael played for Fethard and Tipperary in the 80s, is drafted in for a first appearance with the New South Wales side, deservedly getting his chance at the club he joined in 2015.
O’Riordan, an All-Ireland minor football medal winner as a 16 year-old in 2011 - when Tipperary defeated Dublin in the final at Croke Park - was recognised as being one of the upcoming stars of Gaelic football prior to his departure down under.
O'Riordan, who was also part of the Tipperary under 21 team which reached the All-Ireland final against Tyrone in 2015, eventually decided to join The Swans (Sydney that is) instead of either Essendon or St. Kilda’s who both sought his services at the time.
Earlier this week, the now 22-year-old, who also soldiered with the Tipperary seniors for a couple of years, learned of his promotion at a team meeting. Swans coach John Longmire broke the news which was cheered on by fellow teammates as the young Tippman gets his big chance at the highest level of what is a fiercely demanding sport.
O'Riordan, who also figured on Tipp minor and under 21 hurling teams, gets this opportunity partly due to his great form but also because the Swans are undergoing a serious injury crisis at present with some key players out of action.
The JK Bracken's man who led Tipp to provincial success at under 21 in 2015 (they beat Cork in the final at Semple Stadium), is no stranger to injury himself as in 2016 he punctured a lung during a game in Darwin. Unable to fly back from the Northern Territory at that time, he made the arduous 2,500 miles journey back to Sydney in a car accompanied by a paramedic, a trip approximately six times Malin Head to Mizen Head!
Thankfully O'Riordan has now made a full recovery to the point that he lines out on Sunday against 'The Kangaroos' in the Victorian capital.
His parents Michael and Imelda are heading straight to Australia and will be there to witness the great occasion on Sunday. They are scheduled to land in Oz on Friday night and intend staying for a short break.
Colin O’Riordan’s loss to Tipperary and to Gaelic football in general was immense at the time that he made his decision to play Aussie Rules. Deservedly now he is getting his opportunity to shine on the other side of the world and all back in the ‘Premier County’ send best wishes to him for his first start on Sunday and indeed for the remainder of his career down under.
Following in the footsteps of another Sydney Swan, Kerry's Tadgh Kennelly, we hope the Tipperary star's future will be every bit as fantastic as that of the famed son of Listowel, he may yet get a chance to dance a reel after a Grand Final success.