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All-Ireland winning Dublin duo sign for AFLW side Melbourne - making it 18 Irish for 2020

All-Star defender Sinéad Goldrick and key forward Niamh McEvoy become the first Dubs to join the Irish invasion Down Under.

ALL-IRELAND WINNING DUBLIN duo Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy are the latest inter-county stars heading to the AFLW, bringing the number of Irish players confirmed for the 2020 season to 18.

1 Dublin duo Niamh McvEvoy and Sinéad Goldrick have landed professional contracts. Source: Melbourne FC.

The recent three-in-a-row champions have put pen to paper at Melbourne FC, becoming the club’s first female international recruits.

One of the best defenders in the country, six-time All-Star Goldrick popped up with the Sky Blues’ crucial first-half goal as Mick Bohan’s side saw off Galway in this year’s showpiece.

Both nominated for 2019 All-Stars last week, St Sylvester’s star forward McEvoy also enjoyed an incredible season with the Jackies, in which they made it eight-in-a-row in Leinster.

Goldrick’s success continued on the club scene last weekend, as she helped 2018 All-Ireland finalists Foxrock-Cabinteely to a fifth consecutive Dublin crown.

“I’ve always been a fan of AFLW and in many ways, they have been setting the standard in women’s sport globally,” the 29-year-old account manager said.

“To be able to have the chance to join a team and live and train in a professional environment in a sporting city like Melbourne is something that I’m extremely fortunate to be able to try.”

“There are so many transferable skills between the two games – the high fielding and foot passing, in particular,” Goldrick added.

“Positional sense and tackling technique will take some getting used to but I’m really looking forward to the challenge and excited at working with some of the top coaches in the league. I am hoping my direct running and tackling can add something to the team.”

goldieniamho Melbourne-bound: Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy. Source: Inpho.

While both players hailed the ‘amazing achievement’ of winning three-in-a-row, McEvoy — a four-time All-Ireland champions after the 2010 win — echoed her team-mate’s words:

“There has been Irish girls who have went to Australia to play AFLW and have been able to successfully adapt to the game and I felt that the attributes I have as a Gaelic footballer would be well suited,” the DIT student said.

“Melbourne is an incredible club and there is strong links and history there between the club and Dublin GAA. The club’s culture is amazing and all the people from Melbourne that I’ve dealt with have been so nice.

“I think the high catch and fielding in general is a strength of mine that will be the most applicable transferring from Gaelic football to AFLW and I’m looking forward to working hard on the skills of the game, to try make sure I give a good account of myself while I’m there.”

“Winning the third All-Ireland in-a-row this season with Dublin was phenomenal,” the 28-year-old continued.

“The support we received all year and continue to receive since the win has been unbelievable and I’m so happy and proud to have been apart of such a special group in Dublin.

“Nonetheless, I’m really looking forward to the new challenge and experience that playing with Melbourne presents.”

Goldrick and McEvoy follow in the footsteps of former Cavan player Laura Duryea (née Corrigan) at Melbourne FC — late Dubliner Jim Stynes’ club. Duryea was the first Irish player to ply her trade in the league in its inaugural season in 2017, but she had been living in Australia for a number of years and playing Aussie Rules at amateur level.

sinead-goldrick-after-the-game Goldrick celebrating the recent All-Ireland win. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Mayo’s Cora Staunton followed suit in crossing codes from ladies football to professional AFLW ahead of the 2018 competition, before long-time county team-mate Sarah Rowe, Clare’s Ailish Considine (Grand Final winner with Adelaide), Donegal star Yvonne Bonner and Tipperary 2017 and 2019 All-Ireland winner Aisling McCarthy joined her last season.

They have all re-signed for 2020, while Mayo’s Kelly sisters, Niamh and Grace and team-mate Aileen Gilroy, Tipperary’s Orla O’Dwyer, Donegal defender Katy Herron, Louth star Kate Flood, Cavan’s Aishling Sheridan, Leitrim native Áine Tighe, Galway’s Mairéad Seoighe and Fermanagh captain Joanne Doonan have all landed deals for the upcoming season.

Down native Clara Fitzpatrick has also been elevated to St Kilda’s AFLW list after an impressive VFLW season at Southern Saints.

Additionally, three more leading ladies footballers in Cork’s Saoirse Noonan, Galway’s Olivia Divilly and Meath’s Vikki Wall are currently at an AFLW combine in Melbourne, chasing coveted professional contracts.

Several others will be included in the AFLW draft on 22 October.

The 18 Irishwomen currently on AFLW lists for 2020 are:

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

- Originally published at 10.11

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Emma Duffy

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