On the eve of the new AFLW season, we have quite an Irish flavor across the competition this season. We know all about 11 time All-Ireland start Cora Staunton who will be back in the GWS Giants colors, and this year we will also get to marvel at the magic from Mayo in Sarah Rowe.
A former junior soccer star, and later Mayo Gaelic player, she came across towards during our winter footy season and was almost shopped around to various clubs, to find a fit and find a club that may appreciate the talent she had to offer. Collingwood Magpies has become her home away from home.
In recent years, the Fitzpatrick Cup has been owned by Cork’s UCC Bombers. Not only have they had some home ground advantage, they have simply been the best team – men’s and women’s. This year, travelling to Oxford, will challenge their domination, but according to this report from www.afleurope.org the Bombers and Crusaders are up for that challenge.
From AFL Europe: UCC aiming to win Fitzpatrick Cup again.
Looking to win the Fitzpatrick Cup again, UCC knows they will be facing tough competition with this year’s edition of the tournament being played on English soil.
The UCC men’s side is looking to record a three-peat, while the women’s side, the UCC Crusaders, are looking to win their fourth Fitzpatrick Cup in a row.
Angus Boyle from http://www.afleurope.org takes a look at the upcoming Fitzpatrick Cup to be held in Oxford. From humble beginnings, the Fitzpatrick Cup has grown in size, scope and importance and the 2019 edition is sure to be a huge affair to get the 2019 season in motion.
The first major AFL Europe tournament for 2019 will see five universities from Ireland and England battle it out on Saturday 2nd of February for the Fitzpatrick Cup. Premiers in the men’s divison back in 2015 and 2016, Birmingham University are looking to take both the men’s and women’s Cup back to the Midlands.
Both sides have been in impressive form recently, with the men still unbeaten and both teams on top of their respective National Universities League competions.
The men’s side currently have a big percentage, showing their attacking prowess and they are confident of maintaining that 100% win record.
Gaelic star Ailish Considine’s dream of playing in the AFLW has truly become a reality.
Considine signed with the Adelaide Crows as a rookie and as the club's first International women’s player at the end of 2018.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling to be honest. Being able to be a part of history in such a great club is special,” Considine said.
“Still don’t have words to describe it. When I signed the contract I didn’t even read it I was so excited! It didn’t feel like real life! Probably one of the best days of my life so far, it’s a dream come true. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
The inaugural National University League season is yet to be completed and already the concept has grown further. AFL England have announced on their website www.aflengland.org that an All-Star team from the NUL will take on an Irish universities team. Following is the article detailing the event.
AFL England is delighted to announce that a team representing the National University League will take on an Irish Universities team this year as university football continues to grow across Great Britain and Ireland.
The International University Test Matches will take place on April 20th in Dublin, and feature both Men’s and Women’s fixtures.
The NUL All-Stars team will be selected from some of the best players in the National University League’s inaugural season. More details about the selection process for the All-Stars will be [announced later].
They have been nothing if not patient, but the West Lothian Eagles in Scotland’s SARFL competition have only a few months to go before they hit the field as a fully-fledged team in the national competition. Commencing with scratch matches across 2017, progressing to five non-competitive SARFL matches in 2018 and now moving to full competition for 2019, the Eagle’s journey continues.
With the release of the 2019 SARFL fixture, the Eagles can see what their future will throw at them. It begins with an historic opening home match against the Tyne Tees Tigers. Both teams were new to the competition last season, but the Tigers had full competitive status. This time, both will be ready for a match that offers four points to the winner.
The last time the teams met, the Eagles had a day to forget in Newcastle, going down by 139 points. However, 2019 is a different story. This time the Eagles are the hosts and they are also a season wiser and will be two pre-season’s stronger.
The National University League got back into gear last weekend. The following report comes from the www.afl.england.org website, detailing the results and the implications ahead of the final round next month.
Birmingham turned up the heat on home soil as they won all four of their games to jump to the top of both the Men’s and Women’s division.
After a bye in Round 2, the two sides jumped straight back into the fray as the men’s team kept up their unbeaten record.
A total of seven individual goal-kickers saw them see of the Universities of South Wales (UoSW) team, and they followed that up by soundly beating Cambridge. Four goals from James Williams and three for Ciaran Jeanes across the round helping their side secure a spot in the inaugural NUL Men’s Grand Final with a round to spare.
This weekend in Birmingham, the National University league for men’s and women’s fixtures returns after their break. It will be the second last round in the competition’s inaugural season before a final round to be played in Wales (venue to be advised).
Going into the round, Oxford University has the bye. Their men’s team sits on top of the ladder, whilst their women’s team is second, but this round they can only watch as the other teams chase them. It is a huge opportunity for the host team, University of Birmingham, to seek two wins each in both men’s and women’s matches to chase top spot in both.
The following article by Kevin O’Brien from the Irish sporting website, The 42, looks closely at the journey of Derry’s Gaelic star of the 80’s and 90’s, Dermot McNicholl. His time at the St Kilda football club in the VFL gives great insight to the early days of the movement to recruit Irish talent to the VFL/AFL system.
Following is an excerpt from the original story.
'Our pre-seasons were brutal. I’ve never gone through anything like it in my life'
Derry legend Dermot McNicholl discusses his stint in the AFL, the Oak Leafers’ All-Ireland victory 25 years ago and the rise in GAA stars heading Down Under.
“And St Kilda joined the international recruiting race, taking a punt on Dermot McNicholl, who has been brought to Australia by VFA club Prahran…St Kilda will bide its time with McNicholl, recognised as the best player in Gaelic football…St Kilda targeted McNicholl because of his pace and toughness and believes he could become a highly skilled player.”
The new AFL Switzerland competition was only completed back in November, but already the Basel Dragons have galloped headlong into 2019 with a new playing strip ready to go. Footy in Switzerland has seen a massive regeneration, heavily driven by the Winterthur Lions, and culminating in November’s first intra-national Swiss tournament.
Whilst the Geneva Jets won the event, it is the Basel Dragons working to ensure that 2019 is bigger, better and more successful for them.