Australian Football League Women's: 14 Irish players to watch this season

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Australian Football League Women's: 14 Irish Players To Watch This Season Australian Football League Women's: 14 Irish Players To Watch This Season
Cora Staunton of the GWS Giants runs the ball during their round four AFLW match against the Brisbane Lions at Hickey Park last year. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images via AFL Photos)
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As the Australian Football League Women's (AFLW) is kicking in to gear, there are several Irish players to keep an eye on down under.

So far in the 2022 season, all 14 Irish players in the AFLW have made an appearance.

Cora Staunton

Four-time All-Ireland senior football winner Cora Staunton continues her AFLW career this year with Greater Western Sydney (GWS).

The Mayo star signed for the Sydney side in 2017 as the first international player to be drafted into an AFLW team.

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Staunton has been a regular goal scorer for GWS ever since. She has already bagged herself six goals so far in this year's competition, putting her in joint third position for the Golden Boot award.

Aileen Gilroy

Another Mayo woman who has been making tracks on the AFLW scene is Aileen Gilroy. An experienced intercounty football player and junior international soccer player, she is no stranger to football.

Gilroy can be caught featuring in North Melbourne's defensive line. Having made her debut for the Kangaroo's in 2020, Gilory has become a pillar in the Kangaroo's defence set up.

Bríd Stack

All-Ireland winner and seven-time All-Star Bríd Stack made her AFLW debut this season after signing with GWS in 2021.

Stack's journey to the field was delayed after she sustained a serious neck injury in her first practice match for the club.

She made an emotional debut for the GWS in her first match against the Gold Coast Suns in the 2022 opening game.

With 11 All-Ireland wins behind her, the defender will no-doubt cause problems for GWS opponents this season.

Áine Tighe

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Like Stack, Áine Tighe was also ruled out of the 2021 AFLW season due to an ACL injury.

Tighe, who is signed with Perth based club Fremantle, suffered a difficult start to her AFLW career having also been ruled out of the 2020 season with injury.

However, the Leitrim native finally made a strong 2022 debut by scoring her first ever AFLW goal in her side's recent win over Richmond Tigers.

Ailish Considine

Hailing from Co Clare, Ailish Considine plays for Adelaide and was the club's first international women’s recruit.

When she signed for the south Australian side in 2019, Considine kicked an impressive four goals in eight games.

Like many of the Irish players in the AWFL, she has a GAA background having played intercounty football with Co Clare.

Considine made her first 2022 AWFL appearance to help her side get a win over West Coast Eagles.

Aisling McCarthy

Aisling McCarthy was one of the early GAA players to arrive on the AFLW scene after signing for Melbourne based club Western Bulldogs in 2019.

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The Tipperary woman hit the ground running in Australia, kicking seven goal in her first six AFLW appearances.

In August 2020, she transferred club to play with West Coast Eagles, located in Perth.

A forward player, McCarthy made an impressive 18 disposals in the Eagles recent game against Adelaide.

Having scored 10 goals in her 22 appearances to date, McCarthy can be expected to find the back of the net this season.

Grace Kelly

Speaking of Eagle's players, Mayo's Grace Kelly has been a welcome addition to the Perth club's forward line after signing in 2019.

Kelly made solid start to her AFLW career playing every game in 2020 before suffering a knee injury at the end of the season.

Returning to the field in 2021, she scored a team-high of seven goals, five of which came in the last three games.

Kelly has been a strong force for the Eagles side since.

Niamh Kelly

Grace Kelly is joined on the Eagles squad by her sister Niamh, who also signed for the club in 2019.

Kelly is well known in GAA circles, having captained the Mayo intercounty team before signing to play in the AFLW.

She quickly established herself in Australia, finishing equal eighth at the Club Champion awards in her first season. Kelly can be found in the midfield and forward line for the Eagles.

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Most recently, she scored her first goal of 2022 when her side narrowly lost to Geelong Cats.

Sinéad Goldrick

Dublin's Sinéad Goldrick made her AWFL debut during the pandemic after she signed for Melbourne Demons in 2020.

The four-time All-Ireland champion had her Australian football season cut short in 2o21 due to a hamstring injury.

Goldrick missed her sides first 2022 game due to the AFL’s Health and Safety protocols.

However, she togged out and played a key defensive role as her side recorded a 41-point win over St Kilda in the league.

Lauren Magee

Goldrick is joined at Melbourne Demons by Dublin teammate Lauren Magee.

The Kilmacud Croke's footballer became the third Dublin player signed by Melbourne, following in the footsteps of Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy.

Magee made her AFLW debut in 2021. Although she started in the middle of the season, she featured in seven games, including two finals.

Magee is set to come into the team for Saturdays game after impressing in training. She had missed previous fixtures due to health protocols and later being emitted from her sides line-up against St Kilda.

Aishling Sheridan

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Cavan footballer Ashling Sheridan has been impressing in the AFLW after signing with Melbourne based Collingwood Football Club in 2020. In her debut season, she won the Best First Year Player award.

Sheridan has played a crucial role in the team's success this season, notably scoring the first goal of Collingwood's game against Geelong Cats.

Sarah Rowe

Sarah Rowe is another one of many Mayo footballers playing in the AFLW.

The 25-year-old made her debut for Melbourne in 2019, winning Collingwood's Best First Year Player award that year.

Rowe was part of the line-up that helped Collingwood record three wins to date this season.

Although, it was not without difficulty after her sides recent game against Geelong Cats which left her with a dislocated finger.

Rachel Kearns

Rachel Kearns' versatility knows no bounds, with the Mayo native having experience in the realms of gaelic football, soccer and boxing.

Her ability to adapt was no doubt a key factor in her being the first Irish signing made by Geelong Cats.

The Victorian club brought Kearns into the fold this season, with the multi-talented player making her debut against North Melbourne.

So far, she has played all rounds of this year's AFLW season.

You can watch deferred coverage of the AFLW this Saturday at 5.15pm and Sunday at 11am on TG4.

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