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Dublin: 5°C Monday 18 January 2021

Three Irish stars set for dream starts as new AFLW season kicks off this weekend

Donegal star forward Yvonne Bonner and Mayo duo Sarah Rowe and Cora Staunton all start.

Starting: Donegal and GWS Giants star Bonner.
Starting: Donegal and GWS Giants star Bonner.

THERE’LL BE A nice flavour of Irishness in the opening round of Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) fixtures this weekend. 

With five ladies football stars on the books in Australia for the upcoming third edition of the league, three have secured starting positions for their respective clashes as 2019 gets up and running.

After impressing last season, 11-time All-Star Cora Staunton will step up once again for Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, starting in the back pocket as they go head-to-head with Brisbane in Round One. 

Donegal attacking ace Yvonne Bonner, a successful product of September’s CrossCoders programme, is also named to start in the Giants’ side after well and truly catching the eye in a pre-season win over Sunday’s opposition, the Lions.

“Bonner did amazingly,” team-mate Courtney Gum remarked afterwards, adding that her pace, contested marking and set shot goal were highlights of her AFLW debut.

Mayo star Sarah Rowe will also hope to continue her promising pre-season form as she starts in the Collingwood full-forward line against AFLW debutantes Geelong.

23-year-old Rowe scored two goals and showed that she can transfer her Gaelic football skills to Aussie Rules in their pre-season loss to the Western Bulldogs. 

sarah rowe Sarah Rowe also starts for Collingwood. Source: Collingwood FC.

“She’s got plenty of tricks,” head coach Wayne Siekman said. “She’s got a great tank, she moves up the ground and gets back, and she got on the end of a couple. And she’s going to get better every game she plays.”

Clare native Ailish Considine and Aisling McCarthy’s — two more CrossCoders products — sides, Adelaide Crows and the Western Bulldogs, face off at Norwood Oval on Saturday evening. 

Considine, a sister of Irish rugby international Eimear, is named on the interchange bench while McCarthy is also in the Bulldogs’ mix.

Games with Irish involvement

Saturday, 2 February

Geelong v Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium; 6.45pm AEDT

Adelaide v Western Bulldogs at Norwood Oval; 8.10pm ACDT

Sunday, 3 February 

Brisbane v Greater Western Sydney at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex; 4.05pm AEST 

You can see all the teams and fixture details here

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Emma Duffy

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