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'Our most consistent player' - Tipperary star signs on for two more seasons Down Under

Aisling McCarthy has committed to West Coast Eagles until 2023.

TIPPERARY STAR AISLING McCarthy has signed a new Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] deal, which keeps her at West Coast Eagles until 2023.

McCarthy has enjoyed three seasons Down Under so far, two of those with Western Bulldogs and one with West Coast, where she played alongside Mayo Sister Act Niamh and Grace Kelly in 2021.

Her switch to the Eagles was an historic one; the 25-year-old became the first Irish woman — and first non-Australian — to move AFLW clubs.

A 2017 and 2019 All-Ireland intermediate ladies football champion, McCarthy originally signed for the Melbourne-based Bulldogs during the 2018 Draft after catching the eye on a CrossCoders trial.

There, she continued to impress through two excellent debut seasons and went from strength to strength in her new sport.

“Most look at it as a two-year period but when you break it down to the fact she’s played just 12 games of football in her life and she’s now being touted as one of the best midfielders in the league, it just shows you how talented she is,” as her agent and CrossCoders co-founder Jason Hill told The42 after her switch was confirmed.

McCarthy’s star continued to rise at West Coast, the 2017 Intermediate Footballer of the Year turning in some huge performances before her season was derailed by knee injuries.

She continues to rehabilitate on home soil, absent for the Premier county of late. It’s unclear when her return will come, but she’s been locked in for two more years in Perth.

“It’s really good to sign Aish on again,” West Coast Eagles coach Daniel Pratt said. “Her injuries really restricted her this year from being her best, but along with Bella (Lewis) she’s probably our most consistent player when she’s on the park.

“Having Aish’s quality in the midfield, especially regaining (Dana) Hooker, next year after her injury, and ‘Swanny’ (Emma Swanson) fully fit, able to get through a full pre-season, I feel like our midfield is going to keep growing.

“The strength will be seen on game day.”

The Cahir clubwoman is best summed up in West Coast’s re-signing announcement. It reads:

“Aisling McCarthy is a force to be reckoned with on-field, with sheer grit and resolve exuding through her playing style.

“The pragmatic onballer possesses an exhilarating and unique football sense, whilst also maintaining a strong clearance ability through congestion.

“As well as this, the Best Club Person runner-up has an unparalleled work-rate, sitting second in the Eagles’ line-up for metres gained in the 2021 season.

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“McCarthy came in at fourth for contested possessions, third in clearances and tackles, and first in inside 50 entries, making her an important asset to the West Coast outfit going forward.”

The42 understands that the Kelly sisters will also return, starring for Mayo of late.

The new season is slated to begin in early December rather than Janurary, with pre-season running from 1 September — four days before the All-Ireland ladies football final. 

Other Irish players re-signing for the 2021/22 season: Cora Staunton, Bríd Stack, Sarah Rowe, Aishling Sheridan, Aileen Gilroy, Orla O’Dwyer, Sinéad Goldrick, Lauren Magee, Ailish Considine.

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Emma Duffy

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