Monday 21 October 2019

Ladies stars in limbo as row over games and money brews in Australia


Melbourne FC have signed, left to right, Dublin duo Niamh McEvoy and Sinead Goldrick
Melbourne FC have signed, left to right, Dublin duo Niamh McEvoy and Sinead Goldrick
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the future of 18 Irish ladies footballers who've signed for AFLW clubs ahead of the 2020 season - including recently-signed Dublin duo Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy to Melbourne FC - in the wake of a fractious dispute Down Under.

Mayo legend Cora Staunton (GWS Giants), current Mayo star Sarah Rowe (Collingwood) and Tipperary's Aisling McCarthy (Western Bulldogs) are other Irish stars caught in the crosshairs over a disagreement surrounding the number of games played each season and pay.

Players, league officials, the AFL, the AFL Players' Association (AFLPA) and lawyers are understood to be involved in a tetchy affair which centres around AFLW players demanding a longer season with more games.

There is no agreement in place ahead of the 2020 edition - which will be the fourth year of the AFLW - and Irish players will be waiting with bated breath for a resolution with strike action being considered.

Meanwhile, Michael Duignan is vying to become the next Offaly GAA chairman with the two-time All-Ireland SHC winner set to contest the position against outgoing chief Tommy Byrne.

Ballinamere clubman Duignan - renowned for his work as a pundit/commentator with 'The Sunday Game' - is understood to be part of a group which will contest some of the high-profile positions at this year's Offaly convention.

Former referee Brian Gavin (Clara), who took charge of four All-Ireland senior hurling finals in the past decade, is also putting his name forward for nomination after the group met with Byrne and other county board officials in recent days.

The group are endeavouring to take Offaly GAA in a new direction with the Faithful fortunes having fallen dramatically in recent years with the senior hurlers plying their trade in the Christy Ring Cup in 2020 after successive relegations.

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