'A decision will have to be made at some point' - Choosing between AFLW and representing Mayo

Mayo manager Peter Leahy previously said his players will have to choose between the two sports.

MAYO STAR SARAH Rowe says she will have to make a decision regarding her future in the Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] but stresses that her situation is “too uncertain” at the moment due to travel restrictions.

DSC06706 Sarah Rowe is a 20x20 ambassador.

Mayo Ladies manager Peter Leahy said earlier this summer that players will have to choose whether to commit to the Green and Red jersey or the AFLW going forward.

At the time, he told Midwest Radio’s Sunday Sports Show that it’s “what’s best for Mayo,” and “there is a time that you should put your county first.”

Four of the county’s current ladies football stars, including Rowe, lined out Down Under last season. They missed out on the majority of Mayo’s Division 1 league campaign as a result before the Covid-19 crisis brought sport across the globe to a halt.

Rowe enjoyed a successful season at Collingwood, producing a string of performances which saw her pick up the AFLW Irish Player of the Year award.

The Kilmoremoy forward says she can understand Leahy’s position to make decisions that are in the best interests of Mayo Ladies, and knows that she will have to choose between the two sports at some stage.

“Communciation is the key thing in all of this,” she begins.

“Since I’ve came home I’ve been keeping in touch with Mayo, keeping in touch with the club, all that kind of stuff. Down the line it is definitely going to be more demanding, both Gaelic Football and AFL so a decision will have to be made at some point.

I think for me at the moment it is too uncertain with travel restrictions and all of that kind of stuff. I’m just taking it one day at a time, looking at the club first, and after that, Mayo.”

She added that she is in contact with her Collingwood team-mates but that no formal conversations have taken place yet with the club. The signing date for the next AFLW season is due to take place between 1-17 August.

Leahy attracted some criticism for his comments about asking his players to pick between lining out for Mayo and pursuing their AFLW ambitions. AFLW agent and CrossCoders co-founder Jason Hill said Leahy’s remarks were “extremely disappointing” and “disgusting.”

“I think probably maybe for a year or two you could do both in terms of the way the seasons are working,” says Rowe when asked about the criticism that was aimed at the Mayo boss.

“After that I think both codes will demand a small bit more off you. I think it is a personal decision you are going to have to make for yourself. At the end of the day I respect what Peter said and what he wants and what he thinks is best for Mayo is best for me.”

aflw-lions-magpies Rowe impressed in her second season with Collingwood this year. Source: AAP/PA Images

Rowe has returned to training with her club as they prepare for their first year at the senior grade in Mayo. They have been drawn in a group alongside Knockmore, Westport and six-time All-Ireland champions, Carnacon.

The remainder of the inter-county season is starting to take shape as well. The championship will be played off over seven weekends this year, with a round-robin group stage format beginning on 17 October.

Mayo are in Group 4 where they will be joined by Armagh and Tyrone.

Rowe said she didn’t have any concerns about returning to sport amid the Covid-19 pandemic and is happy to place her trust in the GAA’s safety guidelines.

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“I think we have a personal responsibility that we follow all of the guidelines. If they think it is safe to go back to play football, we trust that. We will work hard to play our part and everybody plays their part it will be okay.

“I’ve no issue with it because I trust what the people at the top are doing and I trust it is the right thing for us.”

Away from the pitch, Rowe is embarking on an exciting new business venture. She studied life coaching, hypnosis and NLP [neuro-linguistic programming] in Australia, and has recently started taking on clients since completing her degree.

Rowe was inspired to explore this field after experiencing the benefits of life coaching in the past. She’s in the process of designing a website to expand her services, and is enjoying this new chapter in her life.

“It’s all about changing the way we think,” she explains, “changing the way we act and changing the way we feel. It’s all about mindset and how we’re in control of ourselves.

I’ve started taking on clients over the last two weeks and it’s been amazing. It’s something I’m really passionate about, I love having conversations with people and coming from a non-judgmental point of view. Being able to pick things apart and get people become more self aware so that we can make better decisions.

“We’re all doing well in life but we can always do better and I think training your mind is a huge part of that.”

Lidl and 20×20 ambassador Sarah Rowe was speaking at the launch of the new exercise programme and microsite in support of Chapter 4 of the 20×20 campaign, ‘No proving. Just moving.’

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