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'We hope to see them back in Australia for another season' - North Melbourne leave the door open for Irish duo

Mayo star Aileen Gilroy and Galway All-Ireland finalist Mairéad Seoighe enjoyed their first campaign Down Under.

Mairéad Seoighe and Aileen Gilroy signed for North last summer.
Mairéad Seoighe and Aileen Gilroy signed for North last summer.
Image: PA Images/Inpho.

AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE Women’s [AFLW] side North Melbourne have left the door open for Irish duo Aileen Gilroy and Mairéad Seoighe following the premature conclusion of the 2020 season.

Mayo star Gilroy and Galway forward Seoighe have both returned to Ireland amid the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing the curtain down on their debut seasons Down Under.

Gilroy played a key role for the Kangaroos through the season, impressing week in, week out, and starred as her side beat Collingwood in their AFLW Final Series opener. 

While that left them two wins away from tasting Premiership success, the season was cancelled due to the worldwide crisis.

Gilroy and Seoighe — who impressed in the set-up although didn’t debut and returned to Ireland before that match with Collingood — will be missed at the club, according to North Melbourne coach Scott Gowans.

That said, the door remains open for 2021.

“It was unfortunate circumstances in which the girls had to return home, but we couldn’t be prouder of the way they attacked a new sport,” Gowans told North Media.

“Aileen featured in all of our seven games this season, and while Mairéad didn’t get her debut this year, we were very impressed with her dedication.

We wish them all the very best through this tough time, and hope to see them back in Australia for another season.

18 Irish women were on the books of AFLW clubs for the 2020 season.

While many have returned home, exit interviews are taking place at the moment and new deals are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Learn more about Gilroy and Seoighe here.

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Emma Duffy

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