Claire O'Riordan has had an eventful few months to say the least.

The versatile Republic of Ireland defender returned to Limerick from Germany, where she plays for Bundesliga outfit MSV Duisburg, when the Covid-19 pandemic put sport around the world on hold.

It was a chance to catch up with family and a break from a gruelling scrap for Bundesliga survival.

O'Riordan has been with MSV Duisburg for two campaigns, both of which have been tough slogs to stay up.

This time they did it by the skin of their teeth, beating USV Jena 2-0 to avoid the drop as Amber Barrett's FC Köln went down on goal difference.

"I was at home for quite a long period of time during the pandemic when everything was kind of on pause," O'Riordan told RTÉ 2fm's Game On.

"Then we got wind of the resumption of the league in Germany so I had to fly back so I could start training with the team again.

"It's been a relegation battle the entire year. I've just finished my second season with the club. In my first season it was the first thing mentioned on game day, a relegation battle.

"I was saying, 'we're only starting our first game now what are we doing talking about this?' Then I grew to learn why it was in fact we were talking about the relegation battle because it is so difficult over there.

"During the pandemic I actually switched off from football.

"I was at home and able to enjoy my time with my immediate family. I didn't get quite a lot of that over the last number of years due to college and football.

"It did come to me as a shock because I wasn't aware that that was what our goals were going to be as a team. I had come from Wexford Youths, where we had a great foundation as a team and we were able to build on that to become very successful and win quite a number of trophies. That change was difficult to grasp. I was more prepared for it this season.

"It came down to the wire, literally the last game of the season, which was nail-biting."

O'Riordan is now hoping to break into Vera Pauw's team for the Republic of Ireland's crucial Euros qualifiers against group favourites Germany on 19 September, before a trip to Ukraine on 23 October and a meeting with the Germans on home soil on 1 December.

She admits she'd love to be given a chance to play up front, where she previously played with Wexford, but for now the 25-year-old is just hoping to get an opportunity to shine for her country. 

"It's quite difficult when you're coming to the national level. When you're a defender like myself and there's players ahead of you with more experience and they have their positions secured... the back line isn't going to change very much unless there's an injury or something drastic happens.

"That's how I got my opportunity to be a centre-back in the first place. Louise Quinn against Norway, we were at home in Tallaght, and Louise broke her nose late in the first half. [Previous Ireland boss] Colin Bell called on me - he'd only seen me as a defender on training - he put me in there as a centre-back.

"You're back line doesn't change really unless something like that happens. There is maybe a bit more leeway if you're a midfielder or an attacking player where you might get subbed on.

"I'm so happy to be part of the team and the journey we're on. I'm learning and improving every camp. Hopefully my time and when I do get an opportunity I'll be able to take it."