Kangaroos welcome O'Shea and Wall to club for new AFLW season

Cork and Meath ladies football stars Erika O’Shea and Vikki Wall  join the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos
Kangaroos welcome O'Shea and Wall to club for new AFLW season

Cork's Erika O'Shea is joining the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos for the new AFLW season.

It has been confirmed that Cork’s ladies football star Erika O’Shea will join the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos for the upcoming AFLW season. She will now be a teammate of Meath’s Vikki Wall, someone she has enjoyed a few battles with over the last two years, with the Cork star getting the better of her on more than one occasion.

O’Shea has quickly become one of the most exciting young talents in ladies football in her first two years playing at senior level after she burst onto the scene and her displays were topped off with an All-Star last season.

O’Shea, aged 19, will be the youngest Irish woman to play professionally in the AFL.

“Being the youngest player is a cool thing to say, so that drew me in,” she said. “I was young going onto the Cork seniors. Clubs were asking me about that, when did I join the adult team. I said I was 17 when I joined, I didn’t know many of the girls at all, and I went up as the only minor called up at that time that stayed on the panel. I was so young and ended up starting that year so they asked me about that.

“They want to see if you’re mentally able to take up another sport. You’re obviously not going to be the best at the sport the first few months because it’s a completely different game to Gaelic football. You go from being a talented GAA star and you have to go over and adjust to a different sport. These girls have been playing for years so you go to being one of the worst.

“I’m petite compared to some of the other girls so the gym is something that I’ll be working on - I will need a few weight sessions I’d say but I’ve been working hard in Castle Hotel gym for the time being.

“Some of the things that will translate over, though, will be my speed and my fitness; being able to run for long periods of time. The pace of the game would really suit me.” Wall comes into the side as one of the premier Gaelic players in Ireland with Meath. The 24-year-old led the side to an All-Ireland title in 2021 and was named the Footballer of the Year.

Meath's Vikki Wall is also joining the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos.
Meath's Vikki Wall is also joining the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos.

AFLW talent and performance manager Rhys Harwood believes that the 19-year-old Cork star has shown strong potential in the defensive side of the game and her talents can lend themselves to a multitude of positions in AFLW.

“We’ve been really impressed with the traits and impact Erika has shown with Cork. Her speed, agility, and ability to cover the ground stand out, as well as her capacity to find a balance between defending and attacking in ladies football and we think her attributes will give her scope to play through a variety of positions for us,” Harwood said.

“At just 19 years of age, Erika has plenty of upsides and is a player who we feel can grow with us over a period of time. She can’t wait to arrive in Melbourne and begin her journey.

“Erika’s work ethic and drive to get the best out of herself will serve her well as she transitions across to AFLW. To have achieved an All-Star team selection at her age is particularly impressive, and speaks to her level of talent.

“We are delighted to have both Vikki and Erika come into our program, and we can’t wait to work with them over the coming seasons.” Harwood also said Wall was a significant addition to the squad.

“Vikki is a player we've been keen to get to North Melbourne for a while, and she obviously had a great deal of interest from AFLW clubs. We're delighted that she's committed to playing at North,” Harwood said.

“Vikki is a highly credentialed player whose work rate and desire set her apart. We've been really impressed with her power and speed, as well as the intensity and physicality she plays with.

“The impact she has on games with Meath is outstanding, her ability to create attacking opportunities and break the game open in ladies football is significant. She has a number of assets we think will allow her to become a highly impactful player in AFLW.”

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