On Saturday October 13th, Cork IT played host to the Australian Football League Europe’s Euro Cup - Europe's biggest annual International Aussie Rules Tournament. Ireland’s Women’s team, known as the Irish Banshees, reclaimed their title as champions after a convincing victory against the England Vixens.
Nine teams competed in the Women’s Division with Ireland being drawn into Pool A alongside the French Gauloises, Croatian Queens and Scottish Sirens. Having been crowned champions five times since the inaugural tournament in 2010, Ireland were on the hunt to avenge last year’s final defeated to the England Vixens.
Head Coach Mike Currane announced a squad of 16 players, 13 of which received their first international caps. Many of the group were Gaelic Footballers whom switched sports to give Aussie Rules a chance. Despite the unfamiliarity of some of the rules and shape of the ball, the newly formed squad pulled together to produce amazing performances with their transferable skills.
Included in the squad were Ailish Considine, Mairead Coyne, Aisling McCarthy and Aisling Curley - four CrossCoders who are hoping to make it big and secure a professional rookie contract with an AFLW side in 2019. Clare’s Ailish Considine signed a deal to play with the Adelaide Crows whilst the other three remain hopeful of selection in the upcoming AFLW Draft.
— Adelaide Crows (@Adelaide_FC) September 27, 2018
The Irish Banshee’s got their Euro Cup off to a flyer as they brushed passed the Croatian Queens with a comprehensive 11.5 (71) – 0.1 (1) victory. Six points are earned for a ‘goal’ and one point is earned for a ‘behind’. The Banshees scored 11 goals courtesy of Ailish Considine (3), Aisling Curley (2), Aisling McCarthy (2), Rosie Currane, Siobhan O'Donnell, Aisling Gillespie and Marie Keating.
All the games are played on the same day, and after a short break, the Banshees were in action again as they faced the Scottish Sirens. Once again, the newly formed squad showed their incredible skillset and work-ethic to run out resounding victors and keep the Scottish attack quiet. The Banshees won their second game of the day 9.5 (59) -1.0 (6). Ailish Considine (3), Aisling Gillespie (2), Aisling McCarty (2), Rosie Currane and Mella Morey were the goalscorers.
As a result of their unbeaten start, the Banshees qualified straight to the final to face last year’s winners in Bordeaux, the England Vixens. The Banshees and the Vixens have won the Euro Cup in alternating order since 2014 with the Vixens winning the most recent encounter last year.
Captained by Mella Morey, there was no sign of a repeat of last-year’s final. Despite an early goal from the Vixens, CrossCoder Aisling McCarthy opened the scoring for the Banshees after a high-tackle from an English defender.
Ireland showed incredible stamina, determination and skill which saw their highly energetic defence come out on top. Swarming the English defence at all times, the Banshees began to take control of the game. Once again Aisling McCarthy added another six points for Ireland after some fantastic interchanging with Ailish Considine upfront.
Marie Keating, one of the Banshee’s longest serving players added a spectacular long range strike to put the Irish further ahead. With little time left to play, Ireland added another two more goals to round-off a resounding victory against their closest rivals. A 5.3 (33) – 1.2 (8) win after two more goals from Aisling Curley and Ailish Considine saw the Banshees reclaim the Euro Cup.
— Flexi-Fi (@FlexiFi_IRL) October 13, 2018
It’s been a fantastic period for the Irish Banshees who won the International Cup in 2017 after defeating Canada. With the great success by the Banshees, attention will now turn to the 2019 Euros in June before the European Championships take place in October 2019.
If you are interested in getting involved and trying out Aussie Rules, now is a great time to start. There are numerous new teams in Dublin as a result of the creation of the Harvey Norman AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership. All levels and experience are welcome and encouraged. Check out the Facebook Page here.
Sarah Bohannon, Ailish Considine, Mairead Coyne, Claire Cunningham, Aisling Curley, Rosie Currane, Laura Egan, Aisling Gillespie, Marie Keating, Aisling McCarthy, Jade McGee, Mella Morey (Captain), Siobhan O’Donnell, Ellie O’Gorman, Maeve O’Gorman, Tina Wright.