Leeside dual ace Saoirse Noonan pursues Aussie Rules dream

Leeside dual ace Saoirse Noonan pursues Aussie Rules dream
Cork's Saoirse Noonan scores a goal against Galway. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

CORK senior footballer Saoirse Noonan has headed to Australia to chase a coveted Australian Rules contract.

Cork, Galway and Meath stars headed Down Under earlier this week to a combine in Melbourne.

Galway’s Olivia Divily and Meath’s Viki Wall joined Noonan in the combine which took place earlier this week.

The combine consists of players who have been nominated by clubs to attend in order for them to get a closer look. A set number of nominations were required for a player to make the cut. 

As well as players from different codes, the combine will also play host to several Australian-based players, with the top rising stars who came through state academies invited.

Noonan made her senior inter-county debut in the 2018 Munster final and the 20-year-old has been an exceptional talent for Cork since, scoring 5-11 in last year’s championship, all from appearances off the bench while in just her second season she has been a regular starter for the Rebels.

She is also a brilliant soccer player, doubling up her Cork commitments with appearances for Cork City Women's FC.

Cork City's Saoirse Noonan tries to get away from Limerick's Anna Shine. Picture: David Keane.
Cork City's Saoirse Noonan tries to get away from Limerick's Anna Shine. Picture: David Keane.

The combine currently attended by Noonan, Divily and Wall will give the players an opportunity to be signed by clubs before or at the AFLW draft on October 22.

Meanwhile, All-Ireland winning Dublin duo Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy are the latest inter-county stars heading to the AFLW, bringing the number of Irish players confirmed for the 2020 season to 18.

The duo have signed for Melbourne FC and in doing so become the club’s first international recruits. Goldrick and McEvoy follow in the footsteps of former Cavan player Laura Duryea (née Corrigan) at Melbourne FC — late Dubliner Jim Stynes’ club.

The Irish take over down under continues and doesn’t look like easing off any time soon.

Aside from McAvoy and Goldrick, 16 Irish players have been confirmed for the 2020 AFLW season thus far, with five flying the flag last year in Mayo duo Cora Staunton (GWS Giants) and Sarah Rowe (Collingwood), Donegal forward Yvonne Bonner (GWS Giants), Tipperary’s Aisling McCarthy (Western Bulldogs) and Clare native Ailish Considine (Adelaide Crows), whose side won the Grand Final.

They have all re-signed, while Mayo’s Kelly sisters Niamh and Grace (West Coast Eagles) and team-mate Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne), Tipperary’s Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions), Donegal defender Katy Herron (Western Bulldogs), Louth star Kate Flood (Fremantle), Cavan’s Aishling Sheridan (Collingwood), Leitrim native Áine Tighe (Fremantle), Galway’s Mairead Seoighe (North Melbourne) and Fermanagh’s Joanne Doonan (Carlton Blues) have all landed deals for the upcoming season.

Currently, the AFLW season finishes before the latter stages of the National Ladies Football league, allowing players to participate in both seasons.

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