Cora Staunton will go down as a bonafide legend in Gaelic games. She was an incredible footballer at her peak and is arguably the greatest player to ever feature in the ladies game.
Of course, her exploits have not been limited to Gaelic football in recent years. She made the move to Australia in 2017, joining the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the burgeoning AFL Women's division.
The AFLW only started earlier that year, featuring eight semi-professional sides. Now, it has 18 fully professional outfits and is growing at a rapid pace.
Staunton was very much at the forefront of that. Not only was she the first Irish player to make the move, but she would also establish herself as one of the biggest stars in the league.
She announced her retirement from the sport earlier this week, ending her spell in Australia as the second-highest scorer in the competition's relatively short history.
Cora Staunton recalls early struggles after move to Australia
While Cora Staunton would make a huge success of her time Down Under, she wasn't always certain that this would be the case.
Speaking to the Irish Times, she recalled how she regretted agreeing to make the move to the AFLW almost immediately after signing her contract. Not only that, but she also 'hated' the first month or so she spent in Australia and initially struggled to click with her new teammates.
I went out to do the trial and still in the back of my mind I was like, ‘I’m never going to do this. I signed and the next day it broke in the media [in Australia] and even still, I came back to Ireland and was kind of like, ‘Maybe I still won’t go,’ – even though I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go.’
We won the All-Ireland with the club (Carnacon) and it was just a whirlwind. Two days after the All-Ireland I’m like, ‘Oh God, why did I say I’d do this?’ On the plane journey out I was doubting everything...
It was hugely daunting. The first month out there, I absolutely hated it. It was such a strange environment. I had never been in an environment where I had to get to know people.
I had been in teams where I had been there for a long time. I didn’t know anyone there and they’re looking at me, ‘Who’s this one coming in? Who does she think she is?'
It wasn’t that the girls didn’t like you, but they just weren’t fully sure (about me). There was probably the barrier of the way we talk and they struggled to understand me – I spoke so quick...
Then we played a practice match against the Brisbane Lions in early January. I did very well, I showed what I was capable of doing and all of a sudden, I don’t know, the attitude of everyone just changed.
You can read the interview in full here.
It's safe to say that things worked out in the end, but it is interesting to hear how even the best athletes can struggle after making a move to unfamiliar surroundings.
With plenty of Irish players set to make the move to Australia once again this year, Staunton's experience is certainly something they can learn from.