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Dublin star calls time on Aussie Rules career after two seasons at Melbourne

Niamh McEvoy has been ‘a highly valued and much-loved member of our team,’ the club say.

Niamh McEvoy facing Collingwood in 2020.
Niamh McEvoy facing Collingwood in 2020.
Image: AAP/PA Images

FOUR-TIME ALL-IRELAND WINNER Niamh McEvoy has called time on her Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] career after two years at Melbourne FC.

The Dublin star shared the news — which was announced by the Dees overnight – with the group earlier this week, having made the decision at the end of Melbourne’s 2021 season.

McEvoy was recruited alongside her Sky Blues team-mate Sinéad Goldrick in October 2019, playing five senior games in the red and blue in the 2020 season and three in 2021.

This year, the St Sylvester’s forward impressed for the Casey Demons in the VFLW — the top-level women’s Aussie Rules league in Victoria, or AFLW’s second tier.

“Niamh has been a terrific contributor to our AFLW program over the past two seasons,” the club’s General Manager of AFLW, Daniel McPherson, told Melbourne Media.

“Whilst she didn’t play as many AFLW games as she would have liked this season, her contribution to the program was significant.

Having balanced her AFLW career with her inter-county one over the two years, the 30-year-old departs as just one of four Irishwomen to represent Melbourne; the others being Goldrick, their team-mate Lauren Magee, who enjoyed an impressive debut season in 2021, and Cavan native Laura Corrigan Duryea, who made history by lining out in the inaugural season of 2017, and also flew the flag in ’18.

The club added that McEvoy will “forever be part of the Melbourne family”.

“The competitiveness, professionalism, and experience Niamh brought across from her highly successful Gaelic Football career back in Ireland has benefitted our group enormously over the last two seasons,” McPherson noted.

“We should never underestimate what players like Niamh sacrifice when they travel out to Australia to compete in our AFLW competition.

“Niamh has been a highly valued and much-loved member of our team in the last couple of years. We thank her for her contribution and wish her all the best for the future.”

It’s expected that she will now place her full focus on her inter-county commitments with Mick Bohan’s Dublin.

Her AFLW retirement news came alongside that of her Melbourne team-mate Shae Sloane, who brings the curtain down on a three-year injury-plagued stint at the top level.

The 2021 AFLW season concludes tomorrow with the Grand final meeting of Adelaide Crows and Brisbane Lions. Clare’s Ailish Considine is targeting a second Premiership crown after Adelaide’s victory in 2019, while Tipperary ace Orla O’Dwyer will be hoping her Brisbane side can cause an upset and make it third time lucky in the decider.

Full Grand final preview to follow on The42.

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Emma Duffy

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