Cork fans hope Bríd Stack recovers to feature for Giants with TG4 showing games

Station will broadcast games and AFLW highlights from here to April
Cork fans hope Bríd Stack recovers to feature for Giants with TG4 showing games

Juliet Murphy, Elanie Harte, Briege Corkery, Brí­d Stack and manager Eamonn Ryan celebrate. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

FROM the All-Ireland club championships and the leagues to Laochra Gael and ladies football sponsorship, TG4's coverage of Gaelic games has been exceptional in recent years.

They've been on the ground to bring top-class games into living rooms that deserved to be in the spotlight and now the station is broadcasting weekly matches and highlights from the upcoming Australian Football League Women’s season.

Aside from the obvious connection to football, there are 14 Irish players signed up to take part in the competition, which runs from next weekend to the Grand Final on April 17. 

Unfortunately for Leesiders, Cork's Bríd Stack faces an uphill battle to make an appearance for the Giants. 

Bríd Stack never expected to be heading to Australia to play when she retired from Cork duty in 2018. Picture: Larry Cummins
Bríd Stack never expected to be heading to Australia to play when she retired from Cork duty in 2018. Picture: Larry Cummins

Given how serious the injury she suffered could have been, it's a best-case scenario. There was real concern on Leeside when word filtered through that she had been taken to hospital after a preseason outing against the Crows.

Thankfully, Stack was released the following day and has since posted on social media paying tribute to the exceptional care she received.

However, it's still disappointing that the 11-time All-Ireland winner, after suffering a stable fracture of the C7 vertebra, which has left her in a neck brace, might not recover in time to appear in the AFL.

It was a major surprise last winter when it was revealed she'd be linking up with her former Mayo nemesis at the Sydney club. 

It says it all about what a defensive colossus Stack was for Cork that the Giants sought her out despite retiring from Cork duty in 2018.

At least she's on the trip of a lifetime, there with her husband Carthach and their son Carthach Óg, and sampling the life of a professional. 

Bríd Stack, who was honoured at at the UL Alumni Awards in 2019, with her husband Cárthach Keane and their son is Cárthach Óg.
Bríd Stack, who was honoured at at the UL Alumni Awards in 2019, with her husband Cárthach Keane and their son is Cárthach Óg.

You can be sure her former manager, the late and great Éamonn Ryan, was proud of her taking the leap of faith.

Australia's women's league started out with eight teams in 2017, which expanded to 14 last year. 

TG4's Head of Sport Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said: "We are extremely pleased that TG4 have agreed a deal with the Australian Football League (AFL) to broadcast matches from the NAB AFL Women’s Competition. There are a lot of players from Ireland who play in the AFLW and we would like to thank the AFL for giving us the opportunity to showcase their sport in Ireland."

The 14 Irish players confirmed for the season are:

Sarah Rowe (Collingwood/Mayo);

Cora Staunton (GWS Giants/Mayo);

Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne / Mayo);

Grace Kelly (West Coast Eagles/Mayo);

Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles/Mayo);

Sinéad Goldrick (Melbourne FC/Dublin);

Niamh McEvoy (Melbourne FC/Dublin);

Lauren Magee (Melbourne FC / Dublin);

Aisling McCarthy (West Coast Eagles/Tipperary);

Orla O'Dwyer (Brisbane Lions/Tipperary);

Ailish Considine (Adelaide Crows/Clare);

Áine Tighe (Fremantle Dockers / Leitrim);

Bríd Stack (GWS Giants/Cork);

Aishling Sheridan (Collingwood/Cavan).

The season runs from this weekend to the end of March, with the knockout stages across the first free weeks in April, culminating in the Grand Final on April 17.

TG4 coverage next weekend:

Saturday, 5.10pm: Full deferred coverage from a top match in the first round.

Monday, 8pm: Highlights from the weekend matches.

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