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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

Mayo sisters' central roles in first-ever win and Gaelic-style goal the highlights for Irish Down Under

Goals and impact galore from the 15 Irish stars involved this weekend.

ON ANOTHER BUSY round of matches Down Under, Mayo Sister Act Grace and Niamh Kelly were one of the stories of the weekend as they helped their side to a first-ever Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] victory.

Screenshot 2020-03-02 at 17.23.15 Niamh and Grace Kelly celebrate. Source: Niamh Kelly Instagram.

West Coast Eagles are a new team contesting their first season in the league, and they stunned 2018 champions Western Bulldogs with an historic win. 

After losses to Collingwood, Fremantle and Greater Western Sydney [GWS] Giants, West Coast looked much-improved this time out and it was Grace, the older of the Kelly sisters, who ultimately sealed the triumph with her first AFLW goal. 

On top of that, the Moy Davitts star racked up 14 disposals including 10 kicks and four handballs, and made four marks and three tackles at the Leederville Oval. 

Niamh also produced her finest display in Oz to date as accounted for 16 disposals. 

Tipperary All-Ireland winner Aisling McCarthy was on the losing side in the tight scrap, though she impressed once again in her second season with the Bulldogs, while Donegal defender Katy Herron also lined out. 

Elsewhere, Clare’s Ailish Considine kicked a brilliant Gaelic football-style goal for Adelaide Crows, though the defending champions were shocked by Carlton in a rematch of last season’s Grand Final. 

The Blues have Fermanagh captain Joanne Doonan in their ranks, though she was not selected for round four. They won by eight points, and were led by Tayla Harris’ goals, as Adelaide’s star player Erin Phillips made her highly-anticipated return from a cruciate injury.

Louth All-Ireland winning captain Kate Flood helped Fremantle continue their perfect start to Conference B as they bagged their fourth win from four against St Kilda. 

Freo — who also have Leitrim forward Áine Tighe under contract though she was ruled out with a knee injury before the season kicked off — are the only team who have won all of their games to this point, though they just scraped over the line against St Kilda. 

It was Flood who saved the day with 90 seconds left on the clock, as she capitalised on a mistake and kicked her first AFLW goal to level matters before Gemma Houghton added a behind.

Down’s Clara Fitzpatrick again impressed for the losing side — who are in their first season — as she produced an outstanding defensive display, including 13 disposals, upon her return to the Saints fold after a concussion injury.

And Tipperary dual star Orla O’Dwyer’s unbeaten Brisbane Lions went top of Conference A after a big win over GWS Giants. The Lions were 7.9 (51) to 3.5 (23) winners at Hickey Park, as Cora Staunton (Mayo) and Yvonne Bonner’s (Donegal) side suffered a comprehensive defeat. Bonner did kick a goal, though.

aflw-lions-giants Orla O'Dwyer meeting fans (file pic). Source: AAP/PA Images

Meanwhile, Mayo midfielder Aileen Gilroy was central in North Melbourne’s win over Gold Coast. She gave a typically string running performance from half-back and accumulated a total of 14 disposals.

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The Kangaroos — where Galway’s Mairead Seoighe is also on the books, though she’s yet to make her debut — were 13-point winners as they made it three wins from four. 

In the Friday night game, Mayo star Sarah Rowe kicked two goals for Collingwood though Melbourne FC came out on top by 20 points in the double-header in aid of bushfire relief.

Dublin duo Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy lined out for the Dees, while Cavan forward Aishling Sheridan starred along Rowe at Marvel Stadium.

18 Irish players in total are on lists Down Under for the 2020 season.

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Congratulations to Grace Kelly, West Coast Eagles, who is our AFL Ireland Women’s IRISH PLAYER OF THE ROUND, after this weekend’s Round 4 of AFL Women’s 2020 👏 👏 Grace had her best game of her inaugural AFL Women’s season by far, scoring her first goal & racking up 14 disposals, including 10 Kicks, 4 Handballs, 4 Mark’s & 3 Tackles, in a historic first ever win for the West Coast Eagles. Next up and consistently at the top of our weekly best over the last couple of rounds is Sarah Rowe, Collingwood, who had another big performance, & on the big stage at Marvel Stadium as part of the Bushfire Relief Games, with 2 Goals & 12 Disposals. In third spot this week & looking to be back playing at the very high standards she set herself in the early rounds is Aileen Gilroy, North Melbourne Kangaroos, with an impressive 14 disposals but an even more impressive strong running performance off half back. And up next we have Clara Fitzpatrick, St. Kilda, back in action after missing Round 3 due a head injury, not that you would have noticed, with another commanding defensive display & 13 Disposals. The Saints hit the nail on the head when they referred to Clara as their “Irish Hard Nut” on their own website on announcing the teams pre weekend 💪 And rounding out our Top 5 we have Niamh Kelly, West Coast Eagles, who like her sister banged out her best showing of the season to date, accumulating 16 Disposals & was thoroughly deserving of a first AFL Women’s Win. Ever improving Kelly sisters equals ever improving Eagles! Across the other fixtures we saw Goals a plenty for the Irish Contingent. The pick of which was a long range strike from Ailish Considine for Adelaide Crows, who just lost out to Carlton in the Grand Final rematch. Yvonne Bonner, GWS Giants nailed her first major of the season, & Kate Flood added another goal from a 50m penalty which was a crucial score in their narrow win over a battling St. Kilda. We will be awarding our Irish Player of the Round each Monday & at the end of the season we will name our Irish Player of The Year. Stay tuned over the next 48 hours to see our current Overall Leaderboard as we reach the half way point of the season

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Emma Duffy

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