Ireland international Claire O'Riordan signs for German Bundesliga side MSV DuisburgTue, Jul 17 2018
Republic of Ireland international Claire O'Riordan has signed a professional deal with German side MSV Duisburg ahead of the new Bundesliga season.
The Limerick-born forward leaves Women's National League champions Wexford Youths in order to pursue full-time football in one of Europe's top leagues.
23-year-old O'Riordan has spent the last five years with Wexford and played a part in three league-winning campaigns, twice finishing as the league's top scorer.
Her departure comes at a less-than-ideal time for Youths, who are set to compete in the Champions League preliminary stages in Belfast next month, but is a boost to international manager Colin Bell.
“I'm delighted to make the move across to Germany and I'm really looking forward to the challenge over the next couple of months,” O'Riordan revealed on the latest extratime.ie Sportscast.
“The coach [Thomas Gerstner[ got in contact. It all happened fairly swiftly – within about a week it went down.
“I booked my flight to come over and do a couple of training sessions with the team. It took off from there then.”
The opportunity to play full-time football was the major draw for O'Riordan, who has balanced elite football with a degree in sports and exercise at Carlow IT for the past number of years.
Having recently broken into Colin Bell's international side, playing in both of the recent World Cup deciders with Norway, the opportunity to focus fully on her football was too good to pass up.
“There are some semi-professional players, but I decided that if I was going to come across I wanted to be all in it. I didn't have a half-go at it. I wanted the full experience.
“I wanted to be able to experience training every day. Some days I'm going to be training twice a day and in the gym as well. That's what I'm looking at for the next couple of weeks coming into pre-season here.
“I've already gotten a couple of sessions under my belt – a couple of the new signings have come together to get a feel of how things run over here before we meet up with the full squad on Wednesday.
“It's really interesting, their coaching methods and the ideas they have behind them.”
While O'Riordan has played the majority of her adult and underage football up front, Bell sees her primarily as a centre- half and it's there she'll look to establish herself in North-Rhine Westphalia.
“Going forward with the national team, I believe Colin would like to see me play centre-half.
“I'll be looking to try and gain as much experience in that centre-half position as I can, which will help prepare me for that national team call-up if I'm needed, which is what happened in the last couple of games.
“I've played as a forward player pretty much all my life and especially with Wexford, so it was a bit of a change I must say, but it's one I welcomed because, at the end of the day, it's wherever the team needs you to do a job.
“Colin obviously thinks I'm able to perform in that position, so I'll be looking to gain as much experience, as much knowledge as I can that can help me going forward.”
Listen to a wide-ranging interview with Claire O'Riordan on this week's extratime.ie Sportscast above.
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