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Three-in-a-row All-Ireland champion joins Dublin team-mates at Melbourne for 2021 season

Lauren Magee has become the latest Irish player confirmed for the new AFLW season.
Aug 20th 2020, 10:05 AM 10,191 0

DUBLIN STAR LAUREN Magee has become the latest Irish player confirmed for the 2021 Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] season, after signing for Melbourne FC.

image8 Melbourne's newest signing, Lauren Magee. Source: Melbourne FC.

The three-in-a-row All-Ireland winner will make the move Down Under and join Sky Blue team-mates Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy at the Dees after the duo recently re-signed for a second campaign.

2018 All-Star midfielder Magee now becomes the 16th Irishwoman confirmed for the new season, after the Covid-19 pandemic brought a premature end to the 2020 campaign.

While the 15 others are returning to Australia having previously played in the league, this is all new for Kilmacud Crokes midfielder Magee.

“It’s an incredible experience to be given the opportunity to play AFLW, especially for a club like Melbourne that has a close connection to Dublin GAA,” she told Melbourne FC.

“I decided to pursue AFLW as a personal challenge to learn a new game and its skills. I really respect the game and to train and play at a professional level is something I’m extremely grateful for.

“There’s many skills that transfer over from Gaelic to AFLW; the foot pass, high catch, and tackling particularly. I hope my tackling and speed can add to the team performance.”

A tenacious, physical and skillful player, it’s expected Magee will be a great fit for the club and the game, after catching the eye at the first-ever women’s AFL Europe Combine in Dublin in December.

Magee — who’ll link up with Melbourne after representing Dublin in the TG4 All-Ireland championship — now hopes to follow in Goldrick and McEvoy’s footsteps, who both really impressed through their debut season.

lauren-magee Magee on the ball for Dubin. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“They have definitely been a huge influence on my decision to go to Melbourne,” the 23-year-old added on the duo.

“Listening to them speak about their experience with the club is inspiring and so positive, it makes the prospect of moving so far away from home much easier for me.

“I can’t wait to challenge myself to learn the game and skills to play a part in the Melbourne team. I was following all their games last year, so I can’t wait to be training with them once my Dublin season is over.

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“I don’t think I’d be given the chance to play for Melbourne if it wasn’t for the development and training that I got through all my club and Dublin coaches over the years. I’m very grateful to them.”

And Melbourne’s AFLW List Manager Todd Patterson added, thanking Dublin for their support:

“It’s really exciting for us to be able to sign Lauren and have her join our women’s programme.

“Lauren is an explosive and aggressive player, who has had a very successful career for Dublin over a long period of time. She is really invested in learning the game and has already shown great improvement in the time that we have known her. Lauren is a really exciting prospect for our program and our club.

“It’ll be great having Lauren learn the game, not only from our group but also Niamh and Sinead, who had had the experience before. This will set Lauren up well to be a strong contributor for a number of years to come.”

lauren-magee-noelle-healy-olwen-carey-and-siobhan-mcgrath-celebrate-at-the-final-whistle Magee (left) celebrating the 2019 All-Ireland win with Dublin. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Melbourne now becomes the joint-top club for Irish representation with three, alongside West Coast Eagles who have Mayo Sister Act Niamh and Grace Kelly and Tipperary’s Aisling McCarthy on their books.

Former Cavan footballer Laura Duryea (née Corrigan) represented Melbourne FC in the league’s inaugural season in 2017.

The 16 Irish players confirmed for the 2021 season are as follows:

  • Lauren Magee (Melbourne FC / Dublin)
  • 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)
  • Katy Herron (Western Bulldogs / Donegal)
  • Aisling McCarthy (West Coast Eagles / Tipperary)
  • Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Grace Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Áine Tighe (Fremantle / Leitrim)
  • Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne / Mayo)
  • Ailish Considine (Adelaide Crows / Clare)
  • Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions / Tipperary)
  • Clara Fitzpatrick (St Kilda / Down).

- Another reaction piece on Magee’s move will follow.

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