Colin O'Riordan is set to make his debut for the Sydney Swans this weekend against the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
The 22-year-old, a former Tipperary dual player, joined the AFL side in late 2015.
"To start the journey three years ago and now to be able to run out for my debut is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I came here,” O’Riordan told the Sydney Swans website.
"That’s what I’ve come to Australia to do and I’m just absolutely stoked. I have a huge sense of pride and it just feels like all the hard work has paid off.
"I didn’t really know what to expect walking into the team meeting on Tuesday morning. It was all a bit surreal and I wasn’t expecting to be told I’d be making my debut one little bit. Then when you walk in and the coaches are there and all the players are there it’s a really special moment.
"I reflected on my journey a bit when I was told and to come from where I came from and to get the chance to make my debut is surreal."
A special moment for @colin_oriordan 🇮🇪
(Thanks to Rhyce Shaw for his creative input too!) #ProudlySydney pic.twitter.com/rtQ07XZ4U8
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) July 12, 2018
O'Riordan has earned his chance with the Swans senior side through some excellent form with their NEAFL side. The 2011 All-Ireland minor winner said a change in mentality this year has aided his rise.
Last year I was probably concentrating too much on trying to make my AFL debut and was forgetting the game I was playing was right in front of me.
This year I’ve had a real focus on going into every game with the mindset that if I play well in this game I’ll have a chance. I decided to forget about my AFL debut and started to take every game as it came. I wanted to let next week take care of itself and let whatever happens happen. That way I’ll then know after every game that I’ve done everything I can to earn my debut and if that’s not good enough you just put your head down and go again and try to improve.
Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE