The connection between Dublin and Melbourne has grown stronger as Dublin midfielder Lauren Magee has become third Dub to sign for Melbourne FC, ahead of the upcoming 2021 AFL Women’s (AFLW) season in February.
A three-time All-Ireland medallist, Magee will join Sineád Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy in the Victorian capital.
In October last year, Goldrick and McEvoy became the first international AFLW players to sign for Melbourne. The duo helped Melbourne qualify for their first ever Finals Series before it was ultimately cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Magee, a 2018 All-Star, is the first new Irish player who will be making their AFLW debut. The Kilmacud Crokes midfielder impressed at the first-ever women’s AFL Europe Combine last December. Magee clocked 3.40sec for 20m sprint and 16.7 in the Yo-Yo.
Speaking to the Melbourne FC’s official website, Magee said, “It’s an incredible experience to be given the opportunity to play AFLW, especially for a club like Melbourne that has a close connection to Dublin GAA,
“I decided to pursue AFLW as a personal challenge to learn a new game and its skills. I really respect the game and to train and play at a professional level is something I’m extremely grateful for.
“There’s many skills that transfer over from Gaelic to AFLW; the foot pass, high catch, and tackling particularly. I hope my tackling and speed can add to the team performance.”
Magee told the Melbourne Media that McEvoy and Goldrick played a big role in making the switch.
“They have definitely been a huge influence on my decision to go to Melbourne,” she said.
“Listening to them speak about their experience with the club is inspiring and so positive, and it makes the prospect of moving so far away much easier for me.
“I was following all their games last year, so can’t wait to be training with them once my Dublin season is over.”
Last season, 18 Irish players were involved in the AFLW season. So far, 15 of those 18 players have recommitted for the new season.
AFLW clubs are expected to return to pre-season training in November. The season will run for a nine-week home and away season with a three-week Finals Series.
There will be a clash with the pre-season of the AFLW as the TG4 All-Ireland championships has been scheduled in from mid-October to December.
It appears the Dublin footballers will travel to Australia after Dublin’s involvement in this year’s All-Ireland ladies football championship is over.
The trio will likely mill most if not all of Dublin’s League campaign in 2021.
The full list of the Irish contingent returning down-under to date are as follows:
Ailish Considine (Adelaide Crows), Grace Kelly (West Coast Eagles), Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles), Aisling McCarthy (West Coast Eagles), Sinead Goldrick (Melbourne Demons), Niamh McEvoy (Melbourne Demons), Lauren Magee (Melbourne Demons), Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions), Áine Tighe (Fremantle Dockers), Clara Fitzpatrick (St Kilda), Katy Heron (Western Bulldogs), Cora Staunton (Greater Western Sydney Giants), Yvonne Bonner (Greater Western Sydney Giants), Sarah Rowe (Collingwood), Aisling Sheridan (Collingwood), Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne).