Land down under

Cora Staunton makes goalscoring return in Australia after career-threatening triple leg-break

Clubs are ramping up their preparations for the new AFLW season.

CORA STAUNTON HAS made a successful full return to Aussie Rules eight months after sustaining a horrific career-threatening injury in action Down Under.

cora GWS Giants. Cora Staunton is set for her third season in the league. GWS Giants.

The 38-year-old starred for Greater Western Sydney [GWS] Giants in a practice match over the weekend, kicking two goals ahead of her third season in the Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW].

Staunton produced “a typically strong performance up forward” against 2019 champions Adelaide Crows, according to the AFL Media reporter Sarah Black, while team-mate and Donegal star Yvonne Bonner “was a constant threat forward of centre”.

Mayo native Staunton has been on a long road to recovery since suffering a severe triple leg-break and broken ankle lining out for UNSW-ES Bulldogs in the Australian off-season.

The 11-time All-Star returned to Gaelic football club action with her beloved Carnacon just 23 weeks after surgery, as they landed their 20th consecutive county title.

Since returning to Australia in early December to continue her rehabilitation there, Staunton has been added to the Giants’ new-look AFLW leadership group.

“Obviously it’s a huge honour, it’s my third year here now and I never expected to be in this position,” she said after being voted into the position by her peers last week.

To be voted in by your teammates is huge and I’m looking forward to working together with the rest of the girls. Hopefully we can bring the team to a really good place and have a really good, successful season.

According to the AFL website, Collingwood’s Irish duo Sarah Rowe and Aishling Sheridan were also impressive throughout their meeting with North Melbourne.

Mayo star Rowe is heading into her second year in the league, while Cavan’s Sheridan caught the eye as forward and midfield ahead of her AFLW bow. North Melbourne’s Aileen Gilroy — also from Mayo — “shone off half-back” for the other side.

Leitrim ace Aine Tighe was another to be name-checked by the AFL website after leading the ruck division for Fremantle, while an Irish sister act caught the eye for their opponents, West Coast: “Irish sisters Niamh and Grace Kelly didn’t look out of place in their first competitive hitout.”

Elsewhere, Geelong and Melbourne, and Richmond and Western Bulldogs went head-to-head in practice matches ahead of next weekend’s official AFLW pre-season match.

18 Irishwomen will line out in the 2020 AFLW season, with round one fixed for the weekend of the 7/8/9 February.

The 18 Irishwomen on AFLW lists for 2020 are:

  • Sinéad Goldrick (Melbourne FC / Dublin)
  • Niamh McEvoy (Melbourne FC / Dublin)
  • Cora Staunton (GWS Giants / Mayo)
  • Yvonne Bonner (GWS Giants / Donegal)
  • Sarah Rowe (Collingwood / Mayo)
  • Aishling Sheridan (Collingwood / Cavan)
  • Aisling McCarthy (Western Bulldogs / Tipperary)
  • Katy Herron (Western Bulldogs / Donegal)
  • Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Grace Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Kate Flood (Fremantle / Louth)
  • Áine Tighe (Fremantle / Leitrim)
  • Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne / Mayo)
  • Mairéad Seoighe (North Melbourne / Galway)
  • Ailish Considine (Adelaide Crows / Clare)
  • Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions / Tipperary)
  • Joanne Doonan (Carlton Blues / Fermanagh)
  • Clara Fitzpatrick (St Kilda / Down)

18 Irish players ready to go as 2020 AFLW season set in stone following ugly dispute 

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