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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019
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Two on target as Bonner scoring on debut the highlight of big weekend for Irish in Oz

The Donegal star kicked a goal, while Cora Staunton finished with two.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (GWS) Giants’ Irish duo Yvonne Bonner and Cora Staunton were both on target in their Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) opener on a big weekend for those flying the tricolour Down Under.

Donegal star Bonner kicked an eye-catching goal eight minutes into her AFLW competitive debut, making no mistake in splitting the posts in the first quarter of the Giants’ 4.5 (29) to 4.3 (27) loss to the Brisbane Lions.

Four-time All-Ireland winner and 11-time All-Star Staunton finished up with two goals from 14 possessions, impressing once again as she got her second season in the league up and running.

“It’s all good and well to be tough and hard and relentless but you’ve got to bring smarts with it as well,” Giants coach Alan McConnell said of his side afterwards.

“We worked hard enough to win but we weren’t quite smart enough to win so we’ve got some work to do.”

Fellow Mayo forward Sarah Rowe officially opened her AFLW career at Collingwood, but they lost out to Geelong by a single point.

It was also Geelong’s AFLW debut and they ran out 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23) at GMHBA Stadium. Collingwood, or the Pies, are yet to a win a first-round match, losing out to Carlton in both 2017 and 2018.

There was plenty of Irish involvement at the Norwood Oval with an official attendance of 7,890 watching on as 2018 champions the Western Bulldogs edged past the Adelaide Crows.

Clare’s Ailish Considine made her debut for the Crows against Aisling McCarthy’s Bulldogs and there was just one point in it at the death, the latter coming out on top on a scoreline of 2.6 (18) to 1.11 (17).

Considine, McCarthy and Bonner all signed deals off the back of an AFLW trial camp, CrossCoders, which saw 11 Irish players travel to Melbourne vying for professional contracts in September.

Lauren Spark, a co-founder of that programme, was pivotal for the Bulldogs this weekend and etched her name into the history books while doing so. She’s now the player with the most marks in an AFLW game (11).

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Emma Duffy

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