Erika O'Shea: Getting dropped at U14 and U16 made me the player I am now

Macroom ladies football sensation is heading to Australia to play for North Melbourne after two superb campaigns with the Cork senior squad
Erika O'Shea: Getting dropped at U14 and U16 made me the player I am now

Erika O'Shea of Cork getting away from Cavan players Geraldine Sheridan and Donna English.

MACROOM’S Erika O’Shea will wear the colours of North Melbourne when she makes her Aussie Rules debut this month.

The gifted ladies’ football star has signed for the Tasmanian Kangaroos, with pre-season starting on June 13, before the official AFLW campaign commences on August 25-27.

Turning 20 this year, O’Shea was electric in her two seasons with the Cork ladies’ footballers, collecting an All-Star last year. She’s also a talented basketballer and was involved with Glanmire’s all-conquering Women’s Super League squad this season under the guidance of Mark Scannell.

O’Shea will be joined in North Melbourne by Meath’s Vikki Wall, the leading light of the Royals’ stunning All-Ireland success in 2021, when they took out Cork after extra-time in the semi-final and then upset the odds against Dublin.

Wall actually played for Meath in the recent Leinster final loss to the Dubs, but O’Shea wasn’t in the Cork panel for their win over Kerry.

Cork legend Bríd Stack played for GWS Giants for the past two seasons, making the move with her family, having already called time on days in Rebel red. O’Shea, though, is switching codes at the outset of her career.

O’Shea explained to Jerome Quinn at the All-Stars that she had to be resilient as a teenager to push on as she matured.

I’ve worked hard, very hard. I got dropped from underage trials and all that. It was hard to come back to trials after that, but, thankfully, I did. 

"Hopefully, there are girls out there who get dropped but think that if I can do it, they can do it.

“I actually got dropped at U14 and U16 level and I was very upset about it because I was trying as hard as I could. Then, John Cleary and all the lads brought me up at minor level. It was just the best thing that ever happened to me and I haven’t looked back since.”

“You’ve to learn about failure and come back from it, come back stronger every time and be ready for it.”

BALANCE

That attitude will be vital as O’Shea adapts to a new sport.

Her rich potential is appealing to North Melbourne, says talent and performance manager, Rhys Harwood.

“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 Gaelic and we think her attributes will give her scope to play through a variety of positions for us.

“At just 19 years of age, Erika has plenty of upside 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.”

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