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Mayo sweating on fitness of AFLW star after shoulder surgery in Australia

Sarah Rowe starred for Collingwood this season, while carrying a shoulder problem.

Sarah Rowe has been a key player for Mayo over the last few years.
Sarah Rowe has been a key player for Mayo over the last few years.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

MAYO HAVE BEEN left sweating on the fitness of star forward Sarah Rowe, after the Collingwood Aussie Rules player underwent surgery in Australia last week.

Rowe had managed a shoulder problem through the 2021 Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] season, despite fears in the opening weeks that it would inevitably rule her out.

The Kilmoremoy clubwoman battled through, enjoying an impressive individual season as she and Cavan’s Aishling Sheridan helped the Pies to the Finals Series.

Rowe, who has struggled with her right shoulder in the past and went under the knife shortly before signing for the Collingwood in 2018, posted a post-operation picture from Melbourne on Instagram last Tuesday, with the caption reading “BRB” — Be Right Back.

The42 understands it was an “anterior stabilising procedure of the shoulder,” and generally, a three to sixth-month recovery follows in terms of returning to play.

Rowe is believed to be targeting a return in three, though it may take a player as long as eight to get back playing and fully fit. She has opted to stay in Australia for now to rehab full-time, something the Green and Red — under new manager Michael Moyles — encouraged.

It’s understood Rowe dislocated her shoulder three times this season, so was forced to manage it and play with limits through the pain barrier. Having had no choice but to undergo surgery, there’s now a 0.5% chance of dislocating it again. 

aflw-lions-magpies Sarah Rowe has just completed her third season at Collingwood. Source: AAP/PA Images

The race is now on to see if — or rather, when — the 25-year-old will be involved with the Westerners later this summer. Rowe’s AFLW colleagues Niamh and Grace Kelly [West Coast Eagles] and Aileen Gilroy [North Melbourne] are also expected back in the set-up, while Cora Staunton [GWS Giants] has firmly ruled out any return, though some Carnacon clubmates are involved.

Under new boss Moyles, the Westerners have been grouped in Division 1A of the Lidl Ladies National Football League with Galway, Donegal and Westmeath.

The campaign gets underway on 23 May — Donegal come as Mayo’s first opposition that weekend — and runs until the final on 27 June.

The TG4 All-Ireland senior championship will follow, running from July to September, with the LGFA announcing the layout of the 2021 season this afternoon.


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It’s believed that, likewise, Tipperary are sweating on the fitness of Aisling McCarthy — the Kellys’ team-mate at West Coast — who sustained a knee injury in the latter stages of the AFLW season, while uncertainty also surrounds the potential involvement Dublin star Sinéad Goldrick after hamstring surgery.

aflw-magpies-kangaroos Rowe in action in April with a heavily-strapped shoulder. Source: AAP/PA Images

Screenshot 2021-05-04 at 18.02.53 The Instagram Rowe posted. Source: Sarah Rowe/Instagram.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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