Sydney Swans

Irish Swan's career takes flight with new contract

Sydney Swans Irish defender Colin O’Riordan has been given a major vote of confidence by his club after accepting a two-year contract extension.

The new deal will see him remain in red and white until at least the end of 2021.

Colin O’Riordan has signed a new contract with the Sydney Swans. Picture: Sydney Swans

Colin O’Riordan has signed a new contract with the Sydney Swans. Picture: Sydney Swans

Originally from Tipperary, O’Riordan joined the Swans as an international rookie in 2015, following in the footsteps of Kerrymen Tadhg Kennelly and Tommy Walsh.

A star Gaelic footballer and hurler as a teenager, O’Riordan captained Tipperary to the Munster U21 football title in 2015 before deciding to try his luck at Aussie Rules.

He made a seamless transition to the Australian game, earning NEAFL Team of the Year honours in his first season on Sydney’s list in 2016.

In Round 17, 2018, O’Riordan’s hard work and thriving NEAFL form were rewarded when he was called up for his AFL debut in a six-point win against North Melbourne.

He also captained the Swans NEAFL side in the grand final loss to Southport last year.

After breaking back into the senior team in Round 8 this year, the 23-year-old has not looked back, playing nine games in a row and providing a wealth of drive from the backline. He also scored his first AFL goal against Conor McKenna’s Essendon.

Colin O’Riordan pictured in 2015 when he captained Tipperary to the Munster U21 Gaelic football title. Picture: Sportsfile

Colin O’Riordan pictured in 2015 when he captained Tipperary to the Munster U21 Gaelic football title. Picture: Sportsfile

Swans Head of Football Charlie Gardiner says O’Riordan’s new contract is a great reward for tireless effort.
“From the moment Colin walked into the club he had a real determination and desire to become a consistent AFL footballer,” Gardiner told the Sydney Swans website.

“Colin’s such a driven and competitive person who works incredibly hard to improve each year. He’s gone to another level again this year and has emerged to become an important member of the team.

“We’re excited he’s joined a number of our emerging youngsters in re-signing, and we look forward to seeing what Colin can produce for the remainder of the season and in years to come.”

Watch O’Riordan’s press conference here.

O’Riordan joins Callum Sinclair, Jordan Dawson, Nick Blakey, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney and Harry Reynolds, as well as coach John Longmire, in recommitting to Sydney in 2019.

Kerryman comes home to roost with the Swans

Migratory Swan Returns: Tadhg Kennelly (right) with fellow Sydney Swans coaches (from Left) Steve Johnson and Dean Cox.

Migratory Swan Returns: Tadhg Kennelly (right) with fellow Sydney Swans coaches (from Left) Steve Johnson and Dean Cox.

TADHG Kennelly has returned as development coach for his beloved Sydney Swans, the team with which he won a Premiership in 2005.

“It’s great to be back. It’s five years I’ve been away from the club,” Kennelly told Irish Echo.

“It’s a bit familiar, yet foreign also. “I’ve had five years away from the club and different experiences in my own life. Coming back in as a coach and not a player is obviously a bit different but the very fabric of the football club hasn’t changed as far as how we approach the game and how strong of a cultural club it is.

“It’s different yet similar.” Kennelly is the only sportsman to have won both an AFL Premiership and All-Ireland football championship. He played his entire AFL career with Sydney Swans, only taking a break from his decade-long career to achieve his other ambition with Kerry.

The son of All-Ireland winner Tim Kennelly, a young Tadhg shone at Gaelic football as well as soccer having a brief stint at Blackburn Rovers’ youth team. In 1999, he joined Sydney Swans as a Rookie, making his senior debut in 2001. He was the first Irishman to win an AFL Premiership in 2005, playing all 26 games in a victorious campaign. He was also a losing finalist in 2006 when Swans lost by a single point.

Kennelly had expressed his desire to return home and win an All-Ireland with Kerry, something he achieved in 2009, playing in the Kingdom’s triumphant campaign, beating Cork in the final. 

Tadhg Kennelly

Tadhg Kennelly

Kennelly would then return to Swans for a further two years, playing his final game in September 2011, then working in development roles including as the AFL’s International Talent Co-ordinator which saw him bring talent from Ireland.

“It was great while I was doing it, giving opportunities to young men all over the world: Ireland, US, New Zealand. Now I’m all about the Sydney Swans and trying to help the young fellas step up and make it into senior football.

“I’ll keep an eye on it from a distance because that’s who I am. I’m an international footballer at the end of the day. I came from the other side of the world. Of course I’m always going to have a soft spot for that.

” Colin O’Riordan of Tipperary is one Irish player in the Sydney ranks that Tadhg will be working with and helping to reach that next step. “I know if I was a third-year footballer and I had someone at the club from very much the same background as myself as a coach, I would be leaning on them.

“The minute he came out here, I was all about him and helping him to settle in. Now obviously I’m able to work with him day to day and help his football from a technical point of view.

“We’ll be trying to get him up to speed as quick as we can to get him into senior selection,” he added.

Kennelly, who has just become a father for the third time, was one of the first AFL players to represent Ireland in International Rules, playing in six Tests.