Mark O’Connor says the idea of heading home to Ireland is something he thinks about regularly, but after signing a contract extension this week with the club, it won’t be happening any time soon. 

For another two years at least. 

O’Connor’s re-signing will see the Irishman extend his tenure at GMHBA Stadium to at least ten years, although the pull of home, he said on Tuesday, is always strong. 

“It's always something that comes up at the end of every year because I have a very strong connection with home,” he said.

“So, it's definitely something I've thought about but I'm very happy here now and this will take me to ten years in Geelong so I'm very settled with my decision.”

As a promising Gaelic prospect from County Kerry, O’Connor joined the Cats in 2016 as a Category B Rookie and made his debut the following season against Essendon at the MCG where he registered one kick and eight handballs. 


Eight seasons on, he’s now a Geelong premiership player with 114 games under his belt, an outcome that not even he can believe. 

“It's crazy. Like I mentioned, every year it's been... I just take it year by year and for it to be nearly 10 years, eight I suppose, but with this contract it'll be ten, I can barely believe it. 

“Happy with how it’s gone.”

A key factor in his success, especially in recent times, has been his ability to go home in the offseason and play for Dingle, his home club. 

“That's absolutely very important to me,” he said. 

“Just in terms of my connection with home, it's very much a pillar of the community. 

“My family are very heavily involved with the club, and for the club here to allow me to do it, it's something very special and it's something I'm very grateful for because I know not every AFL club is comfortable with doing it. “

While the Gabba is a world away from Páirc an Ághsaighk, Dingle’s home deck, the unbeaten Cats will take on a rejuvenated Lions outfit led by regular O’Connor opponent, Lachie Neale. 

As to whether he takes the Brisbane Brownlow Medallist on Saturday, he’s not yet sure. 

“Not sure, hasn't been flagged with me yet but it's probably something we'll have up our sleeve anyway but I'll leave that up to Scotty and the coaches.”