Orla O'Dwyer and her Brisbane Lions side are the reigning AFLW premiership champions. AAP/PA Images

O'Dwyer faces three Irish counterparts - one a Tipp team-mate - in Brisbane's AFLW title defence opener

The 2022 AFLW season kicks off on the weekend of 7/8/9 January, with 14 Irish players involved.

ORLA O’DWYER WILL go head-to-head with three Irish counterparts – and one of her Tipperary team-mates – as her 2021 AFL Women’s champions, Brisbane Lions, open their title defence against West Coast Eagles.

Brisbane are on the road for Round One of the 2022 season, which takes place on the weekend of 7/8/9 January.

That one will be a Sunday showdown, with Mayo Sister Act Niamh and Grace Kelly, and Tipperary star Aisling McCarthy all central figures for West Coast.

14 Irish players are signed on for 2022, all being put through their paces in pre-season currently after the start of the new campaign was delayed due to the pandemic. Before Covid-19 cases began to rise in Australia in late August, it was chalked in for a December kick-off.

But now, it gets underway in the New Year, with the meeting of St Kilda and Richmond acting as the opener in Frankston on Friday, 7 January.

There’s a battle of Mayo the following day, as Aileen Gilroy’s North Melbourne face Rachel Kearns’ Geelong Cats. Fresh off winning her second All-Star, multi-sport ace Kearns is gearing up for her first season in Australia, with Gilroy a popular figure at North after two excellent seasons.

Dublin duo Sinéad Goldrick and Lauren Magee get off the mark against Western Bulldogs, their Melbourne side on the road for Round One, like Clare’s Ailish Considine and her Adelaide Crows.

The Crows, champions in 2019, travel to Fremantle, home of Leitrim star Áine Tighe, who is hoping to get up and running after two injury-ravaged seasons.

On the Sunday, Sarah Rowe and Aishling Sheridan’s Collingwood face Carlton, and Cora Staunton and Bríd Stack’s GWS Giants do battle with Gold Coast Suns, all before the clash of Brisbane and West Coast.

Cork great Stack could be in line for her belated AFL Women’s debut after a serious injury scuppered her 2021 plans.

The AFL released the fixtures for Round One to Nine of the 2022 season on Thursday, with Round 10 details to follow.

The 2022 season marks the first time 10 home-and-away rounds will be played, as the AFL works towards a vastly expanded competition in 2023.

You can read more here >

2022 AFLW Round One fixtures

Friday January 7

  • St Kilda v Richmond, SkyBus Stadium, 7:15pm

Saturday January 8

  • North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos v Geelong Cats, Arden Street, 5:10pm
  • Western Bulldogs v Melbourne, Victoria University Whitten Oval, 7:00pm
  • Fremantle v Adelaide Crows, Fremantle Oval, 8:50pm

Sunday January 9

  • Carlton v Collingwood, Ikon Park, 4:10pm
  • Gold Coast SUNS v GWS GIANTS, Great Barrier Reef Arena, 6:10pm
  • West Coast Eagles v Brisbane Lions, Mineral Resources Park, 8:10pm

* all times AEDT.

Irish players to feature in the 2022 AFLW season

  • Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions / Tipperary)
  • Aisling McCarthy (West Coast Eagles / Tipperary)
  • Grace Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne / Mayo)
  • Rachel Kearns (Geelong Cats / Mayo)
  • Sarah Rowe (Collingwood / Mayo)
  • Aishling Sheridan (Collingwood / Cavan)
  • Cora Staunton (GWS Giants / Mayo)
  • Bríd Stack (GWS Giants / Cork)
  • Áine Tighe (Fremantle / Leitrim)
  • Sinéad Goldrick (Melbourne / Dublin)
  • Lauren Magee (Melbourne / Dublin)
  • Ailish Considine (Clare / Adelaide Crows).


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