Imagine one of Gaelic football’s all-time greats, two Footballers of the Year, including a current one, and five other All-Star winners, who moved to Australia to play a hybrid game. Try it. It will cause a quiet ruckus.
That’s exactly what happened in women’s Gaelic football, as 22 Irish women signed semi-professional contracts to play for 12 of the 18 clubs in the expanded Women’s Australian Football League (AFLW), which started Thursday.
No overseas league in the history of world sports has 22 Irish women. This is the largest exodus of Irish footballers since the infamous all-male American Invasion Tour conducted by the GAA in 1888.
Mayo’s Cora Stanton, one of the greatest women’s soccer players of all time, was one of the pioneers of the movement. Now in her sixth season with her Sydney-based GWS, she is the top scorer.
Her clubmate Brid Stack has won multiple All-Ireland medals and an 11-time All-Star for Cork. Meanwhile Meath’s back-to-back All-Ireland winner Vicky Wall and current Player of the Year made their debut under Australian rules yesterday.
Others from Ireland including Wall teammate Orag Nalley, Armor pair Brysyn McKinn and Amy Mulholland, Erica O’Shea (Cork), Ayn McDonagh (Galway) and Megan Ryan (Tipperary). Six rookies are also set to make their debut this weekend.
Despite being interrupted by Covid-19, AFLW, which just started in 2017, has already made great progress. All 18 AFL clubs will participate in the Women’s Series for the first time. However, the season lasted just four months and the grand final, which drew 16,000 fans last year, is scheduled for his November. The men’s season is from March to September.
More teams competing means pre-season training starts sooner. Vicky Wall and Orag Nalley were allowed to finish All-Ireland with Meath, but future Irish girls signed with Australian clubs will be playing in their own counties in the late stages of All-Ireland. May not be available. Series — unless it runs early in the summer.
All this has had an impact on the Ladies Gaelic Football Association as player transfers appear to be on the rise.
The 18 clubs each have 30 players on their rosters, which means they will continue to recruit in Ireland. And with salaries set to rise, it will become more attractive for Irish stars to try a hybrid game.The league has a commitment to go fully professional by 2026.
As a result of a new joint compensation agreement negotiated by the players’ union, the average annual salary for all 540 contracted players will rise by 94% from $23,904 (€16,563) to $46,280 (€32,097) this year.
At the bottom of the year, Tier 4 players receive $39,184 (€27,151) and Tier 3 players $47,372 (€32,825). Tier 2 players will be guaranteed $55,559 (€38,498) and select Tier 1 players will be paid $71,935 (€49,255). You can see that there are no Irish players making Tier 1 payouts.
In 2017, Cavan’s Laura Corrigan Duryea was the only Irish player to participate in the AFLW, and 2022 will feature players from 12 counties, including five from County Mayo.
Clare’s Irish Considine has won two premier titles with the Adelaide Crows. Meanwhile, Tipperary’s Orla O’Dwyer was in the winning Brisbane team in 2020, making him the first Irish player to be named to the Australian team (the equivalent of the All-Stars). last season.
With the league’s televised coverage ramped up, BT Sport is expected to broadcast an average of three live games each weekend, but TG4 will postpone the match coverage.
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Irish Considine (Claire)
A two-time AFLW champion with Adelaide, the 30-year-old is in her fifth season in the league. In terms of securing her silverware, she was the most prolific Irish female player in the league.
Niamh Kelly (Mayo)
Playing in the league from 2020. Transferred from the West Coast to the Champions during the close season.
Orla O’Dwyer (Tipperary)
One of the league’s most high-profile and successful Irish players, the 24-year-old made history in the spring when he became the first Irish player to be named to an AFLW All-Australia team. A double camogie and Irish footballer, she won her premier title in Brisbane in 2020.
Sarah Law (Mayo)
This is her fifth season in the league since joining Collingwood in 2018. During that time, she transitioned from a goal-scoring forward to an important midfielder. She missed the first game of her new season due to a one-game ban from last season.
Aishling Sheridan (Cavan)
A proven goalscorer, it is her fourth season with the Magpies. Voted the club’s first-year player of the year in 2019, she continues to establish herself as a first-choice player.
Joanne Doonan (Fermanagh)
Previously, he played for Carlton until the season was cut short due to Covid-19. Seize the chance again due to her success in the 2nd Division Women’s Victoria League.
Megan Ryan (Tipperary)
The last of 22 Irish women to be given a contract, the former Tipperary Camogie player has been in Australia since 2019. SANFLW — State level league in South Australia.
Orag Rally (Meath)
This is her debut season, having moved on from back-to-back All-Ireland winners Meath. Her pre-season training in Australia was cut short due to her association with the Royals. It will probably take the 21-year-old Oval some time to adapt to the demands of his game.
Ein Taige (Leitrim)
She had to endure a two-year wait before making her debut as a result of two knee ligament injuries, but last season she proved her prowess and helped the Western Australian club reach the semi-finals of the competition. helped the
Amy Mulholland (Armour)
Like Megan Ryan, she moved to Australia for non-football reasons before Covid.
Rachel Carins (Mayo)
The two-time All-Star played for Mayo in this summer’s championship. This is her second season with Geelong as she signed her first international contract in 2020.
Cora Stanton (Mayo)
The Mayo legend is equally influential in Australia. Now 40, it is his sixth season at the Sydney club. She has scored her 47 kicks in 40 games since her 2018 debut, making her the all-time leading goalscorer. Like when she starred in Mayo, she’s her leader on the club’s field.
Brid Stack (Cork)
Another legend in the Irish game, she suffered a potentially life-changing neck injury in the Challenge Game shortly after signing with the club two years ago. However, she made a full recovery and was always present last season.
Eileen Gilroy (Mayo)
Gilroy’s move from North Melbourne to Hawthorn, one of four rookies in the expanded league this year, was one of the highlights of the close season. A cheeky defender, she’s been an ever-present in the league since 2019.
Ain McDonagh (Galway)
This is her debut season, where she has excelled in Gaelic football and basketball.
Sinead Goldrick (Dublin)
A three-time All-Ireland medalist and seven-time All-Star, she joined Melbourne for the 2020 season. She appeared in her last year’s grand final losing to the Adelaide Crows. She is a key defender who is expected to challenge silverware this season.
Brysyn Mackin (Armor)
Coming from the renowned Armor GAA family, brothers Amy, Ciaran and Conaire all play at the county senior level. She earned an All-Star in her 2020. She made the switch this summer, her first time in Australia where she scored a goal at the MCG. preseason rules game.
Vicky Wall (meat)
By far the hottest newcomer, Wall has been named Player of the Year for 2021 after Meath’s historic All-Ireland win. She appeared prominently again when they retained the title last month. The 24-year-old made a big impact in pre-season, even though she didn’t go to Melbourne until five days after the All-Ireland final.
Erica O’Shea (Cork)
At 19, she is the youngest Irish player in AFLW. She faces her steep learning curve this season, but she’s already making an impact, and she made her league debut yesterday against the Gold Coast.
Grace Kelly (Mayo)
The younger sister of Niamh, who appears on the Adelaide Crows’ roster, she moved clubs during the off-season, leaving the West Coast Eagles, who were top scorers last season.
Clara Fitzpatrick (Down)
Returning for her second stint in the league, visa problems and injuries kept her out of the game for two seasons. She is 31 and an experienced defender.
west coast eagles
Aisling McCarthy (Tipperary)
A broken wrist prematurely ended her involvement last season. Before moving to her Perth-based club, she started her career five years ago with the Western Her Bulldogs.