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Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 09:46 am ACST

AFL Europe's Women's European Championships 2016 Previews


 The following reviews of each of the teams (kicking off this afternoon in London) have been sourced from AFL Europe.

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Irish Banshees

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the first of the women’s team previews we are getting to know the Irish Banshees a bit better.


What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

The Banshees last competed at International level in 2014 where we went down to Canada in the final of the International Cup in Melbourne but managed to bounce back from that disappointment to beat a very impressive England Vixens side in the final of the Euro Cup in London.

Since 2014 a number of our key players have moved on or are unable to travel to London due to other sporting commitments which mean the Banshees side that takes to the field in London will have only 5 players who have previously experienced international football.

On the flip side, the positives for the Banshees is that this year we have unearthed a lot of new talent and their enthusiasm and love of the game will be on display in London.

Brendan Kelly, who is the coach of the Ulster Kookaburras has joined the coaching staff for the 2016 tournaments. Shaun Saurin who previously coached the squad to Euro Cup success is unable to travel to London due to a family wedding but is doing some preparatory work with the team in advance of London.
Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

At the tournament there will be a joint coaching team of Pat Leavy and Brendan Kelly. The team are in safe hands as Pat, who managed the team at IC14 and EC14 has played with the Warriors from 2003 to 2013 which included two International Cup campaigns as well as numerous Euro Cups.

Brendan has also played in numerous Euro Cups and at IC14. He is currently a member of the Irish Warriors team competing at the Championships and he is hoping to retain the title he won in 2013.

The management team also have a number of support staff behind them, most notable Deirdre Ní Chearaill, former Banshee international and current lady president of ARFLI who has been one of the driving forces behind resurrecting the Banshees in 2016. She will be acting as team liaison.

The team is shaping up pretty well. We can see huge strides in each player’s development since the start of the summer. There is a good blend of youth and experience in the squad and some very exciting new players will be on show. On one hand you have multiple international medal winners like Emma Kelly, Fiona Roarty and Carolann Cassidy and on the other you have really exciting new prospects like Olivia McCann, Colleen Quinn, Claire Donnelly and Clara Fitzpatrick.

Add in some full format experience from the AFL London league gained by Onóra Mulcahy and Linda Connolly and we think it’s a formidable team.

We have 16 players from the Ulster Kookaburras, 1 from the Galway Magpies, 2 players from London club, the Wandsworth Demons, with the remainder coming from the Dublin Angels.
AFL Europe Championships focus
We would have liked to have had more collective training sessions in the lead up to the tournament but to counteract that we have linked in with the men’s carnival rounds in the ARFLI premiership. This has allowed the girls learn the finer points of AFL from looking at the men’s game.
We’re looking forward to playing on a full oval as we rarely get the chance, so in particular we’ll be looking to add width and pace to our game, which will allow the players adapt their Gaelic football skills to a new game. The experience of 18 a side will be of huge benefit going into IC17.
Our strength is definitely the quality of our footballers. All the players have played Ladies Gaelic Football to a high level in Ireland. Our weakness is probably the lack of 18 a side football in Ireland and an inability for the team to train collectively on a regular basis.
Who has the X-Factor?

Emma Kelly, Onóra Mulcahy and Fiona Roarty can really dominate, so it’s certainly worth watching out for them. As we are travelling with a relatively new squad, a number of players have really improved out of sight over the last few months so it would be unfair to single any one player out.

That is the exciting part of a tournament, you never know which player we will be all talking about by the end of it – hopefully it will be one wearing green!
Coach’s thoughts – Pat Leavy
“We’d expect to have a fair crack at getting to the final, but we know it will be difficult. The Crusaders will have the best players from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and France, while the GB Swans are currently the benchmark in Europe. The GB women’s league is probably the best female league outside of Australia. The Vixens were excellent the last time we played them in 2014 and have improved since.
From a Banshee point of view, how the tournament unfolds will be determined by how our players react to full format and knowing the potential in our team, I’m excited at seeing how they will develop as the tournament progresses but expect a great team performance and hopefully we will get over the line”
1. Claire Donnelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
2. Terri Kelly (Dublin Angels)
3. Ciara Mone (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
4. Catherine Collins (Dublin Angels)
5. Emma Kelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
6. Fiona Roarty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
7. Carolann Cassidy (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
8. Olivia McCann (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
9. Onóra Mulcahy (Wandsworth Demons)
10. Naomi Curtis (Dublin Angels)
11. Mairead Walsh (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
12. Marley Bevan (Dublin Angels)
13. Ursula Murphy (Irish Exiles AFL)
14. Linda Connolly (Wandsworth Demons)
15. Leona Russell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
16. Claire Doherty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
17. Clara Fitzpatrick (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
18. Aisling Gillespie (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
19. Edel Gray (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
20. Crea McAleer (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
21. Tracey Moloney (Irish Exiles AFL)
22. Amy O’Donnell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
23. Nuala O’Hagan (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
24. Colleen Quinn (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
25. Oonagh McAnespey (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
26. Niamh Mc Fadden (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
27. Colleen Mallon (Irish Exiles AFL)
28. Ashleigh Payne (Dublin Angels)

Source: AFL Europe Website

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – GB Swans

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.
In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the next preview we get to know the GB Swans a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?
The GB Swans were established earlier this year by two England Vixens players who wanted the opportunity to play in tournaments alongside the GB Bulldogs (men’s team), including the European Championships and the International Cup. Since the formation of the team, the GB Swans have attended two events, the Champions League in Amsterdam and the AFL London Preseason Cup in Peckham. In what couldn’t have been a better start for the team, they won both tournaments, making a name for themselves as a team to beat. Charlotte Eales and Lisa Wilson, who founded the team, have been working hard to schedule selection days, prepare the team for the upcoming tournament, arrange kits and are working hard to bring in sponsorship. The management team have hugely been helped out by Jason Hill, Team Manager for the GB Bulldogs.

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?
The GB Swans are lucky to have 3 excellent coaches; Garth Nevin as Head Coach and Lauren Spark & Ian Mitchell as Assistant Coaches who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. On announcement of the GB Swans forming a few months ago, the Swans received nearly 50 registrations of interest from girls across the country. After two selection days in Birmingham and Glasgow, a squad of 26 was selected for the European Championships. The girls come from a number of different teams representing England, Scotland and Wales. Unfortunately, we are yet to have a Northern Ireland girl register, but we hope to get them engaged soon! Clubs that are represented by the GB Swans are: Glasgow Sharks, Wimbledon Hawks, University of Birmingham, Greater Glasgow Giants, Wandsworth Demons, South East London Giants and North London Lions.

AFL Europe Championships focus
The two selection days we had in Birmingham and Glasgow were doubled up as training camps to give the coaches an idea of the skill and fitness level of the girls in order to give feedback to aid improvement before the tournament. Alongside these, many of the players selected for the EC16 team played in the AFL London Preseason Cup back in April. Many of the girls have played together before for the England Vixens and Scottish Sirens, or within their clubs, however this will be the first time for many of the girls playing together.
With many of the girls coming from the AFL London league, there is a wealth of 18 aside experience which will be one of our strengths. However, fitness is always an issue when playing on an Oval as large as the one at Motspur Park. The girls will be looking to neaten up their skills, clean hands and kicks whilst ensuring constant pressure on and off the ball.

Who has the X-Factor?
Sisters Alex and Danni Saulter have had a bout of injury this season with the latter being out all season with a fractured elbow, sustained in the AFL London Preseason Cup. With both girls nearly back at full fitness they will be a force to be reckoned with; Alex in the half-back line and Danni strong in the midfield. They will both be hoping to replicate their fantastic performances in the 2015 Euro Cup where they both played for the England Vixens who took out the title.
One of our youngest, Chloe Hall, recently moved from playing at the University of Birmingham to the South East London Giants. She has rapidly adapted to the 18 aside format and her knowledge, skill and commitment to the game has been outstanding. She will be one to watch at this tournament and in the future for GB Swans. She also stands out as she has a tomato blush as she exerts herself into the contest. A real leader and hard ball getter!

Coaches thoughts – Garth Nevin
“I’m not going to lie, I have set high expectations. I believe the talent we have in our team we should push very hard for the No 1 European spot. I hope that the girls send a message to the other countries competing in the International cup in 2017. We mean business. Another aim is to open the doors for the upcoming inaugural year of Women’s AFL in Australia for all GB women. The commitment these women have shown inspires me to pass on every bit of AFL knowledge I have. Whatever the result, I will be extremely proud of these ladies and honoured to be the first ever coach of the GB Swans.”

1. Beth Bailey
2. Carolyn Baker (Glasgow Sharks)
3. Jen Bennett (Wimbledon Hawks)
4. Freya Blount (University of Birmingham)
5. Lea Cobham (North London Lions)
6. Louise Darby (Wimbledon Hawks)
7. Charlie Eales (Wimbledon Hawks)
8. Chloe Hall (University of Birmingham)
9. Stacey Hughes (Glasgow Sharks)
10. Kirsty Gray (Greater Glasgow Giants)
11. Rose Lewis (Wandsworth Demons)
12. Laura Mackay (University of Birmingham)
13. Jess Milford (Wimbledon Hawks)
14. Sophie Morris (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
15. Rania Ramadan (North London Lions)
16. Zoe Rowe (Greater Glasgow Giants)
17. Alex Saulter (North London Lions)
18. Danni Saulter (North London Lions)
19. Caroline Sellar (Glasgow Sharks)
20. Louise Smith (Glasgow Sharks)
21. Ellie Sutherland (Glasgow Sharks)
22. Lynsey Torrance (Glasgow Sharks)
23. Laura Turner (North London Lions)
24. Lisa Wilson (Wimbledon Hawks)
25. Lucy Jones
26. Laura Park (Greater Glasgow Giants)

Source: AFL Europe Website
Congratulations must be extended to all at GB Swans on them becoming a new member of the International Australian Football family of nations, and the best of luck in their endeavours into the future.

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – European Crusaders

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In this women’s team preview we learn more about the European Crusaders concept and what they are all about.

The European Crusaders is made up of quality players drawn from nations that are unable to field a full national side, to enable these players to compete at the elite international level.

Who’s coaching?
Denmark Valkyries Team Manager Cyril Marsault has been recruited to coach the Crusaders during the tournament. He will get a helping hand from Maria Falkesgaard who will be a playing team manager for the Crusaders.

How is the team shaping up?
We have an awesome team with many good girls. The team consists of a wide variety of girls with different strengths.

From where are the players coming from?
We have players from more than a handful of countries, including France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Denmark.

Pre-tournament focus?Have you had any training sessions/camps in the lead up?
The crusaders have never played together as a team before, but all girls have a great sense of team spirit.

What areas are you looking to get better in?
We have girls of very different skill levels and therefore we would love to be better skills wise, however we now that we might have a huge challenge here.

What are your team’s strengths and weaknesses?
The strengths of the team are that all the girls are very committed to playing a full format tournament and that all the girls’ love playing footy. The weaknesses of the Crusaders is that we are very low in numbers and that we have never played together before.

Coaches thoughts?

Provide us an insight from the coach on how he sees the tournament unfolding?
The Crusaders will enter the competition with less expectation on them than the national teams. The focus on fun rather than performance, and the patchwork from different countries, might come as a disadvantage, but choosing to compete with such a team shows great motivation and courage from the players, which might just be the recipe to unexpected success on the field.

Who has the X-Factor/Players to watch?
We have players from both the French and Danish national 9's teams and they are always bringing their best play for tournaments. Furthermore, we have a strong list of British and Australian girls who shows promising notes on field.
As this team is pure superstar quality, we do not highlight any one player but the team as a whole.

Who’s improved out of sight?
We are looking forward to seeing Samara Warren play her first footy game and think this former soccer player will be a nice addition to the team.

Adapted from AFL Europe website preview.








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