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JUST AFTER FIVE tonight, TVs across the country are moving to TG4 as AFL Aussie Rules na mBan take center stage.
North Melbourne and Mayo star Aileen Gilroy is an Irish player honored for a big 2021 season.
Source: AAP / PA images
Four years after the league was founded, a full AFLW (Australian Football League Women) game is shown here for the first time, in which the coverage of the clashes between the West Coast Eagles and Adelaide Crows postponed from 5:10 p.m. (It just started at 6:10 am Irish time, so stay off social media for the full viewing experience.)
Mayos Sister Act Niamh and Grace Kelly and Tipperary star Aisling McCarthy, who is after her Historic Western Bulldogs trading debuted are about to start on the West Coast, while Clare’s 2019 Premiership Champion Ailish Considine will perform from Adelaide Interchange Bank.
A total of 14 Irish women will compete in the 2021 competition , with seven counties being represented in eight clubs. Cavan’s Laura Corrigan Duryea was the first to hoist the flag in the 2017 opening season before Mayo legend Cora Staunton crossed the codes for her in 18, and Irish interest exploded from there.
CrossCoders, an agency who helps identify female talents capable of transition, ran a test camp in Melbourne ahead of the 2019 season and three Irish players – Considine, McCarthy and Donvales Yvonne Bonner, who decided against returning this time – signed that after that, the total came to five when Sarah Rowe came on board.
This sparked serious interest Down Under in the athleticism of the Irish players and the translatable skills and play patterns that clubs appeal, just like in the men’s game.
18 were in the books for the 2020 season – which ended prematurely due to Covid – and with an all-time high from home soil, many clips saw each other on social media and read articles to follow the heroics of the Irish contingent. Only a few have even mastered the time difference to watch games in the AFLW app.
There are no two options: The new broadcasting agreement from TG4, which includes a complete postponement of coverage from one game per round on Saturday evening and a highlights program shows on Monday is huge.
« There’s nothing like sitting in front of the TV and actually watching what happens, more than just seeing the highlights or goals and learning and experiencing the game. «
» It’s great for the girls out here to show the people who left them at home exactly why they are coming here, what it really means – not just to them, but what it means to the crowd here means the people of Australia and why the people here love the game so much. “
Tá to chéad dheireadh seachtaine the #AFLW buailte linn! 🔥Cé leis an mbeidh tú ag tacú? @CrowsAFLW nó @eaglesaflw? 30/01 | 17:10 ar @ TG4TV @AFLIrelandWomen @gympluscoffee pic.twitter.com/XIWghIUhMo
That just scratches the surface. Hill references the 20 × 20 campaign and the famous « Can’t see, can’t be » slogan.
« We can show young girls that at some point in their life there is a way to potentially be a professional athlete if you play Gaelic football, camogie, rugby or AFL in Ireland.
The audience numbers could indeed be quite high with Lockdown 3.0, and many eyes – and new ones – will be on Mineral Resources Park again today.
« Quite a one-sided affair, » admits Hill first one and strays from their track record. The West Coast is only in its sophomore year, while Adelaide remains the reigning champions from 19.
The Crows have certainly been bolstered by returning stars Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall and looking to step up their heroics for 2020, but he’s got positive reviews from the Eagles heard.
“Talking to the girls, the game plan seems to have accelerated. They seem more interested in how to move the ball faster. That will play into the hands of Aisling, Niamh and Grace who may be able to use their speed.
« One of the West Coast Eagles’ biggest problems last year was getting their hands on the ball in midfield and getting it in to bring the forward line. I think this is where you saw Aish Mc [Aisling McCarthy] could make a difference for your side.
« I would definitely expect the West Coast to get better this year. I think Aish Mc is making a huge difference in midfield and adding one final piece that they were looking for around the ball.
Irish sports brand Gym Coffee is sponsoring AFLW 2021 on TG4 after welcoming Aisling McCarthy as ambassador.
« We’ve seen that if she gets the chance, her class will show through with the ball. Hopefully she can repeat part of her pre-season form in which she scored three goals against Fremantle in a training match. “
He predicts a convincing win in Adelaide, but sees plenty of room for improvement on the West Coast, which only won one of its six games last year.
Besides McCarthy – » She has only played 12 soccer games in her life and is now touted as one of the best midfielders in the league « As Hill said – the Kellys will also play a central role for the Perth team.
Grace has and should have returned to her brilliant record after a knee injury running on the ground, named in the half-line striker next to her younger sister, who has just recovered from her own setback to the Achilles tendon.
« Given the Amount of work Grace has put into her recovery I would say she will be faster and fitter than last year which will make her an interesting match for defenders because she has a bit of the size around her too ” Hill explains.
« If she can keep development on track with learning the game and the positions it needs to be in, she will make some big leaps this year. » I know this their only goal and mindset is, « How can I learn the game so that I can be in the right place at the right time to use my weapons? »
« Niamh spent a lot of time on the wing last year, starts this week in the strikers and will spin to the middle. I think they are very interested in using their agility and speed to brake packs and brake lines – and of course still being a classic footballer and being able to move the ball well.
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Meanwhile, Considine is not a strange opposition to the trio. Although they have already banned horns for Australian ovals, they are all used to holding their own on the inter-county scene. Additionally, she was a teammate of Grace Kelly and McCarthy at UL.
And just like the rest of them, Hill believes Considine will take her game to a new level in 2021.
« She was there, did that and literally got the Premiership t-shirt. I think she just has to settle in. In any case, she’ll say so herself. She had a bad year trying to switch positions last year. She got like Treated an experienced player. In reality, she had played six soccer games before.
« I think you forgot that there is still a lot to be done in your development. I know she has worked extremely hard this off-season to make sure she is ready to be part of the team that is struggling to get back into the top 4.
« She’s going to be sharing a little tact and dexterity. She has some of the best skills I think when it comes to the Irish contingent. I think that will play into their hands when they get back to the way they used to play that kind of Keep-ball-kick-mark game is on.
Cavan’s « Fit and Firing » Aishling Sheridan set the tone for the Irish with a breathtaking two-goal goal in the sold-out opening game of Collingwood on Thursday (injury-related teammate Rowe out ), and Hill believes many will follow with an eye to catching gigs this weekend.
He’s expecting big seasons all around, a teak-hard mayo star, one of the first names on his lips when asked what becomes This year you can expect the Irish in general.
« With North Melbourne looking to try to win a Premiership this year, I expect it to be an integral part of that backline. »
Your first bet is against Geelong in the wee hours of the morning while three Irish players will be heavily invested in the eventual meeting of the Giants and Fremantle of Greater Western Sydney [GWS] – who did best last year and who flagged them up before the season ended suddenly over.
While the big green and red Staunton will be the only Irish on the field, her teammates Bríd Stack and Freos Áine Tighe will watch, both injured.
Staunton is preparing for their fourth season in the league.
Source: AAP / PA images
« Obviously Cora is Cora, there’s no doubt about that, » grins Hill, without needing to change his mind. « I think the question will be at the ripe young age of 39, how long can she go on and stay at the level she’s got because she’s still such an amazing athlete.
» Bríd obviously can’t believe what happened there. So unfortunate that such a freak injury would happen in your first game, but we’re excited to see what it can bring.
« It would have been great to see you both on the pitch but I would expect Cora to still deliver and be an integral part of this GWS squad. «
He would also like to see Tighe in action, another knee injury sustained in the last hurdle before the season and which brings the Leitrim forward for the second year in a row.
« Totally unhappy, » he frowns. « Cross your fingers, her rehab is going well and we may see her at the end of the season when Fremantle makes it to the final. «
Three Dubliners have each other fixed on today’s early start, Melbourne versus Gold Coast Suns. The All-Ireland trio Sinéad Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy and rookie Lauren Magee are on the books in Melbourne.
Goldrick is the only player to emerge from the 14-day hotel quarantine last week. This is no surprise.
« Given the number of games she played last year, she was probably the most advanced of the three players who learned the game when she returned this year. I would expect Sinéad to pick up where she left off and play on that backline, much like Aileen. Less creative things are obviously more about the defensive side and making sure that they can use their speed to close down opponents.
« Since the other two are more offensive, I think it takes a little longer to do that Game to learn to read and understand. Niamh is listed as an emergency for this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw her back to the side in a couple of weeks.
« I think Lauren is of an unknown quality right now. She would probably be known for her good run in Gaelic football, so this is going to be interesting be to see if she can get into that midfield in Melbourne. She just has to keep her head down while training, keep working hard and I’m sure she will get a chance at some point this season. «
Orla O’Dwyer faces Fremantle last season.
Source: AAP / PA Images
And last but not least, Tipperary’s triple threat Orla O’Dwyer is preparing this weekend for her second season with the Brisbane Lions, who will face Richmond in their first encounter tomorrow.After watching her move in the off-season, Hill predicts an even bigger year for the Premier Dual Star in 2021: « She looks very good and looks like she has taken some good steps with her football. »
« The Brisbane Lions are going to be a little more competitive this year and I would say they are definitely pushing to be part of that midfield line. I look forward to seeing what it can bring this year, obviously another year of knowledge, and she hasn’t slowed down and she definitely isn’t any less fit so I expect this tank to be a big part of her game
« She could score a few goals against a team from Richmond this week, which will likely be at the bottom of the league. I can see Brisbane might have a show there on Sunday. “
Just like our Irish talent in general in the coming weeks as they hope to take the league by storm again.
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« The Irish don’t just make numbers, they are some of the best players in the league, » he said
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