SWAPPING sports isn’t as easy as you may think – just ask Erika O’Shea who has gone from Gaelic football to Aussie Rules back to GAA in less than 12 months.
The All-Star Cork footballer, who will head back out to the AFLW for a second season with North Melbourne after the Rebels’ championship campaign ends this summer, is back in the county set-up after her first season of Aussie Rules, and admits it has taken her time to find her stride.
‘It’s definitely easier to go from Gaelic to Aussie Rules, and not Aussie Rules back to Gaelic; they are completely different fitnesses,’ the Macroom woman tells the Star Sport Podcast.
‘When you have the fitness from GAA it’s easier in every sport because you are so fit and fast, and have power from running, so it’s a lot easier to go to a different sport from that.
‘Going from AFL to GAA is hard because it’s more slow paced and endurance there; I found there was long-distance running and there wasn’t that much sprinting so in that sense it was a lot harder to come home and play GAA than go over. It’s completely different fitnesses from two different sports.’
O’Shea admits she was even rusty kicking a football by the time she rejoined the Cork football squad in pre-season, and while Oz will call her again later in the year her full focus is on the Rebels’ Munster and All-Ireland championship campaigns.
‘It was really exciting to be back,’ she said.
‘I left half way through the season last year so I didn’t get the full year with Cork, and I was annoyed that I didn't get to finish it last year. I was so happy to be back in this season, the girls and management have been really welcoming. Our S&C coach Paul has been managing my load, it was a lot coming from North Melbourne training to Cork, and he has been unbelievable.
‘There is such a bond between the girls, there are a lot of younger girls after coming up and there are still some experienced players there, but the bond is so good; it’s one of the closest teams I have played with. When I came, I noticed that it’s a proper team. I’m really enjoying it so far.’
Erika O’Shea was chatting at the recent SuperValu launch of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.