expert's view

Mayo team-mates facing off and '2021's breakout star' - what to expect from the Irish in Oz this weekend

A closer look at how the AFLW’s Irish contingent will fare in Round Four with CrossCoders agent Jason Hill.

AS THE BAD news keeps coming here and the wait continues for any indication on the return of Gaelic games, we turn to Australia for a much-needed fix of similar live sport.

aflw2 North Melbourne's Aileen Gilroy and Collingwood duo Sarah Rowe and Aishling Sheridan go head-to-head this weekend. North Melbourne / PA Images. North Melbourne / PA Images. / PA Images.

Some of the country’s top stars — 14 of them, to be precise — are involved in the 2021 Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] season, where four Round Four matches are of huge interest to Irish fans.

Up to 11 Irish players could feature this weekend and again, we’ll have inter-county team-mates going head-to-head as the season really heats up.

We see that in “the game of the week when it comes to the Irish connection” — North Melbourne v Collingwood — as CrossCoders head agent Jason Hill tells The42.

Mayo team-mates Aileen Gilroy and Sarah Rowe face off, with Rowe’s fellow Collingwood star, Aishling Sheridan of Cavan, also hoping to continue her electric start to the season. That’s the TG4 game this weekend, with the Irish language station showing deferred coverage of the action at 5.10pm on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Orla O’Dwyer’s Brisbane Lions face Ailish Considine’s Adelaide Crows, Melbourne’s Dublin contingent are up against Western Bulldogs and three Irish players should feature in the Greater Western Sydney [GWS] Giants — West Coast Eagles showdown.

Bríd Stack (GWS Giants) and Áine Tighe (Fremantle) remain sidelined, continuing their recovery from their respective long-term injury setbacks, while Mayo’s Niamh Kelly (West Coast) again misses out after dislocating her finger.

All team selections are yet to be confirmed but we may see Dublin’s Lauren Magee earn her AFLW bow this weekend.

That’s one of the many things Hill writes about in his Round Four preview, the expert on the ground in Australia running the rule over what to expect from the Irish players this weekend below:

North Melbourne v Collingwood

The game of the week when it comes to the Irish connection as we see two title challengers take on each other. On one side we have Mayo’s Aileen Gilroy taking on her county sister in Sarah Rowe and her partner-in-crime, Aishling Sheridan.

We have a potential mouthwatering clash in making as Sheridan will be looking to continue her goal-scoring form and will likely line up near the tackling machine that is Gilroy. Expect a bit of rough and tumble in this one and a high-scoring affair. For me North just take the chocolates but it’ll be close.

Brisbane v Adelaide

aflw-suns-lions Orla O'Dwyer. AAP / PA Images AAP / PA Images / PA Images

This one likely still comes a little early for the original CrossCoder in Ailish Considine as she continues her recovery from the concussion protocol but 2021’s breakout star in Orla O’Dwyer will be looking to continue her rise in the AFLW.

One of the first real tests for the league leaders Brisbane, it could be a high scoring affair as the crows look to bounce back from their Round Three defeat to Premiership favourites Fremantle. Will be a test of both teams premiership credentials and I see Brisbane sneaking a surprise win.

Western Bulldogs v Melbourne 

Sinéad Goldrick has been getting plenty of applause here in Australia for her run and carry off halfback and I expect this to continue to be a huge part of Melbourne’s gameplan when they take on a Western Bulldogs side that has surprised some with their ability to keep games close in 2021.

dubs Melbourne's Dublin trio: McEvoy, Goldrick and Magee. Melbourne FC. Melbourne FC.

Melbourne blew North away with their scoreboard pressure last week and it’ll take a very good effort from the Dogs to keep this close. Expect a Melbourne win and a further improvement from Niamh McEvoy if selected. There’s a chance this is the first we could see of Lauren Magee too with a favourable matchup.

GWS Giants v West Coast

Another Ireland on Ireland clash as we see another inter-county match up in Mayo as Grace Kelly takes on Cora Staunton. Both teams have struggled their way through the start of the season with GWS clawing their first win last week against Gold Coast and the Eagles running Brisbane surprisingly close for two quarters.

Expect Aisling McCarthy to get plenty of attention from the GWS midfield as she continues to be the most dangerous player on the West Coast team. A close one for me which could go either way but I can see West Coast improving week-on-week and sneaking their first win of the season here.

Round Four fixtures / results

(All in Irish time)

Friday, 19 February

  • St Kilda 7.9 (51) Geelong 3.4 (22) 

Saturday, 20 February

  • Carlton v Richmond, 4.10am
  • Fremantle v Gold Coast Suns, 6.10am
  • North Melbourne v Collingwood, 8.10am

Sunday, 21 February

  • Brisbane v Adelaide, 2.10am
  • Western Bulldogs v Melbourne, 4.10am
  • GWS Giants v West Coast Eagles, 6.10am

- All games available to watch live on AFLW app, with a full highlights show on TG4 on Monday at 8pm.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel