DOM Barry acknowledges his first AFL season has been pretty up and down, but given he has been placed in the unique situation of being included in the upcoming Indigenous Australian tour of Ireland in the International Rules Series, it only reinforces his potential.

Barry, along with Adelaide’s Cameron Ellis-Yolmen, has yet to make his AFL debut, but the duo has been named in the 21-man side, which will play a two-test series on October 19 and 26 in Breffni Park, Cavan and Croke Park, Dublin respectively.

The promising midfielder/forward was just one of three Demons, along with Rory Taggert and Nathan Stark, yet to play an AFL match from Melbourne’s 2013 list. He was also one of five players not to feature for Melbourne this year.

“It wasn’t disappointing, but I would’ve loved to have tasted the experience of playing at AFL level this year, but playing VFL itself is a pretty good level,” Barry told 

“All elements of my game have improved in that time. I’ve got stronger, a little bit quicker and my endurance is probably a little bit better, so that’s been the biggest thing.

 “The first year has been pretty up and down. Being on an AFL list and taking part in all of the AFL activities has been a massive up, but losing on a consistent basis has been a down. Hopefully next year we can showcase the talent that we have.”

Barry conceded the training had been much harder than he expected.

“Everyone around the club was saying this was the hardest the Melbourne Football Club have been training,” he said.

“I’ve come from a tennis background and I’d only started footy only about two years ago again, after being out of the game for about six years.

“I had a lot to learn and I’d come from a long way back, compared to a lot of the draftees that were drafted last year.”

Barry, who was a promising tennis player and received a scholarship to relocate from Darwin to Melbourne, said he didn’t regret opting for football.

“I played it for fun at first and then I gradually got better and better and better,” he said about his tennis.

“I started winning competitions in Alice Springs and then I branched out to bigger and better tournaments across Australia. From there, everyone knows what’s going on in tournaments.

“People started contacting me and then Evonne Goolagong Cawley offered me a tennis scholarship at a school in Box Hill and I took that and it went from there for a little bit. I went to Ballarat after that and then started off footy.”

Barry said he had the potential to do “bigger and better things”, but his results didn’t say that.

“Tennis can get pretty lonely out there and I’m the type of person who needs a team environment around me, so I went for [football],” he said.

“I loved playing footy and being around the footy environment.

“I had all of my mates around me in Ballarat to play with on the weekends, so that’s probably what made the decision pretty easy.”

Given he will play with the likes of now retired Melbourne star Aaron Davey, dual Hawthorn premiership player and new Sydney superstar Lance Franklin and North Melbourne 2013 best and fairest winner Daniel Wells, Barry said he would benefit from that experience and from another pre-season.  

“I’m going to work hard and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

“If I get a chance early next year, then I’ll take it.

“Another pre-season and another long season of training will only do the world of good.”