Tag: Irish Banshees

Banshee Corrigan Duryea’s Dees journey

It has been a whirlwind few months for Ireland’s only AFL women’s (AFLW) competition player, Laura Corrigan Duryea.  After six games with Melbourne including today’s victory over Adelaide in Darwin they sit joint second on the ladder and are in contention for a Grand Final spot with one round remaining.

From being a late edition to the Melbourne list Laura has started and played an influential role in all Melbourne’s games to date.  Laura started off in the full-back position but in recent games she has played half-back.  Laura is an Irish pathfinder in the new competition wearing the same number 11  as another famous Irish Demon, Jim Stynes.  It’s very likely many more talented Irish athletes will play in future seasons of the AFLW, just like Jim Stynes open the door for many other Irish men getting the opportunity to play AFL.  The league itself in its first season has got great support with games live on TV and big crowds turning up.  The very first game of the competition attracted 24,500 fans with over 2,000 lock out as the venue was at capacity.  The peak TV audience for that first game was also a remarkable 1.1 million viewers.  Below are some photos from her history making AFL women’s competition debut season.

Preseason training


Laura flying the flag for Ireland on Australian TV


Laura has got plenty of media interest


Laura clears the ball against Collingwood


Cavan meet up in Sydney with GWS staff member Nicholas Walsh


Laura (far right) with her Melbourne teammates


Charging forwards


Reaching highest in Round 4 against Carlton

Banshees announce IC17 players

The management and coaching staff of the Banshees are delighted to announce the updated list of Irish and U.K. based players who have earned their seats on the plane to Melbourne for IC17.

CONGRATULATIONS to the following:-
– Carolann Cassidy (Ulster Kookaburras)
– Linda Connolly (Wandsworth Demons)
– Molly Cullen (Dublin Angels)
– Laura Flannery (Dublin Angels)
– Aisling Gillespie (Ulster Kookaburras)
– Aine Higgins (Dublin Angels)
– Emma Kelly (Ulster Kookaburras)
– Olivia McCann (Ulster Kookaburras)
– Roisin McFadden (Ulster Kookaburras)
– Rachael McGee (Ulster Kookaburras)
– Onóra Mulcahy (Wandsworth Demons)
– Sarah O’Donovan (U.C.C. Crusaders)
– Fiona Roarty (Ulster Kookaburras)
– Leona Russell (Ulster Kookaburras)

Ladies – well deserved on being selected but the hard work continues from now until August.

The next batch of players will be named following the upcoming Leprechaun Cup and the London Footy Festival.

Banshee selected by Melbourne

Our Irish Banshee Laura Corrigan (on right in photo) has been chosen by Melbourne FC as one of its three free agents for its 2017 women’s squad to play in the first national women’s AFL competition.  She becomes the first Irish women to be selected at this level of competition in what will be a semi-professional league being played next February and March.

Women’s football operations manager Debbie Lee said Corrigan (affectionately known as Irish, as she hails from County Cavan) was an experienced recruit.

“’Irish’ is a really good addition to the team. She brings experience, given that we’ve got 10 players under 20 years of age,” she told melbournefc.com.au.

“She’s a really tough, competitive player and also brings height to the team, so we see her as a tall defender and a second ruck option.

Corrigan, who has been in Australia for nine years, said it was a great opportunity to become the first female Irish player for Melbourne. And she is fully aware of the legacy held by the late, great Jim Stynes at the club.

“It’s all pretty surreal at the moment … but it’s a dream,” she said.

“I came to Australia backpacking nine years ago and I wanted to give the game a go.

“Now I’m getting the opportunity to play AFL – it’s unbelievable.”

Corrigan, 33, will play under her married name Laura Duryea.  She started her career with Melbourne University, but has played the past seven seasons with Diamond Creek. She has also played in seven Grand Finals and also captained Victoria Gaelic football team in 2016.  Laura has played in the last two International Cups for the Irish Banshees, winning in 2011 and being a runner up in 2014.  She hopes to don the green again next August at the 2017 International Cup in Melbourne.


Ladies light up Lisbon

The Irish Banshees national women’s team took the silverware from the 2016 AFL Europe Euro Cup 9-aside tournament last weekend with a close fought victory over the English Vixens in sunny Lisbon, Portugal.  This year saw The Banshees joined by England, Scotland, Denmark, France, Sweden and Croatia as the women’s game grows in popularity every year in Europe.  The Banshees and the English Vixens have met in recent finals but the Vixens have won the most recent encounters.  On this occasion the Banshees deserved the rub of the green and pulled out the victory in a tight final by 16 to 7 at the final siren.  It was a delighted captain Emma Kelly who was first to raise the cup on a great day for Irish women’s Aussie Rules.

A delighted Carolann Cassidy
The Banshees overcame Croatia in a group game
The victorious Banshees with coach Pat Leavy

Meanwhile the Warriors weren’t just as lucky putting in a tremendous effort in reaching the Grand Final before losing out to Croatia after extra time.  The Warriors came out of their group with ease and then defeated local rivals England in the semi-final before setting up a Grand Final against Croatia who have had significant success at the 9-aside format of the game.  The final saw a wind assisted Croatia race into a significant lead, but with the Warriors having the wind in the second half they pulled back to level at full time.  In extra time Croatia kicked nearly every attempt for six points and this impressive accuracy got them over the line 53 to 39.

A fine mark by Coilin O Lordain


Warriors’ ruckman Gavin Murray takes off


Warriors’ Luke Hickey in full evasion mode


Warriors line up for Grand Final anthems

Ireland ready for Euros

Starting on Sunday, Irish Warriors commence their challenge of retaining the 18 a-side European Championships in Motspur Park Oval, Wimbledon, London.  The women’s team, the Irish Banshees are also there and commence their competition on Thursday with both Grand Finals on Saturday 21st August.

Stitched Panorama
The 2013 Euro winning Warriors

This year there are four men’s teams and three women’s teams competing.  It is the first women’s full sided tournament and shows the progress the women’s game has made in Europe in recent years.  The men’s competition has shrunk in nations compared to the 2013 edition hosted by ARFLI in Dublin.  Then there were six men’s teams but absent this year are Denmark and Croatia.  Also a team that competed in the 2014 International Cup, France are not made the short trip to London.  Denmark are the most notable absence having impressed in recent 9 a-side Euro Cups however it is disappointing they are not attending considering their strong footy tradition in real aussie rules on a full sized oval and 18 a-side.

The IC14 squad, only 8 of them will play at EC16

However based on rankings from the 2013 tournament and International Cup performances the two strongest teams in Europe at competing, Ireland and Great Britain.  The Warriors field only eight of the squad that were such narrow runners up to Papua New Guinea at the 2014 International Cup in Melbourne and come with a mixture of home based and English based players.  Some notable players include Lions duo Muiris Bartley and Conor O’Halloran who both won their first ARFLI title last week and also competed in IC14 and EC13.  Another Lion, Luke Hickey has youthful dash and could have a big tournament.

Of the English based players, Tom Stack played in the European Champions League Grand Final in Amsterdam last March with Manchester Mosquitos and should make an impact.  Another very notable English based player is Kevin O’Brien who was on the team of the tournament at IC11.  Slightly confusing is the fact that their are actually two Kevin O’Briens in the Irish squad and both play for London club Wandsworth Demons.

Kevin O’Brien evades PNG at IC11 Grand Final in the MCG

Player of the tournament in The Euro Champs in 2013, former Galway Magpie John O’Regan is absent as he has emigrated and will be missed for his all round footy ability.  Probably the Warriors biggest obstacle in winning their third European Championships is Great Britain.  In 2013 only one point separated the sides with a last gasp goal from Mark Leavy the difference.  At the 2014 International Cup Great Britain had high expectations but probably under performed.  In particular at that tournament they struggled against the free flowing style of the Pacific island teams, with Nauru the team the halted their progress.  With many Warriors have Gaelic games backgrounds it is hoped they can replicate this free flowing game that seems to unhinge team GB.

However only three of the International Cup 2014 GB Bulldogs squad remain, they are Will Worthington, James Talbot & Owain Ryland.  Many of the GB players named will be making their GB Bulldogs debuts after impressing club competitions with others returning to the Bulldogs guernsey after a competing in either IC11 or EC13 Bulldogs campaign.

Irish Warriors’ Squad


Muiris Bartley(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Sean Paul Henry(Belfast Redbacks)

Luke Hickey(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Brendan Kelly(Belfast Redbacks)

Stiofán Mac Finn(Wimbledon Hawks)

Tom McKenna(Belfast Redbacks)

Paul Murphy(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Conor O’ Halloran(Leeside Lions)

Eoin Ó Súilleabháin(Leeside Lions)

Tom Stack(Manchester Mosquitoes)

Gerard Walls(Belfast Redbacks)



Liam Burns(South Dublin Swans)

Conor Fitzgerald(Wandsworth Demons)

David McElhone(Belfast Redbacks)

Sean McGlinchey(Belfast Redbacks)

Stuart McKeating(Belfast Redbacks)

David Miller(Belfast Redbacks)

Gavin Murray(South Dublin Swans)

Kevin Young Kev O’ Brien(Wandsworth Demons)

Eoin Ó Murchú(Wandsworth Demons)



Conor Fitzgerald(North London Lions)

Dominic Joyce(Leeside Lions)

Ryan McCloskey(Belfast Redbacks)

Kevin McDonnell(Galway Magpies)

David McGinty(Galway Magpies)

Kevin McSorley(Belfast Redbacks)

Kevin Old Kev O’ Brien(Wandsworth Demons)

Padraic O’ Connell(Leeside Lions)

Cóilín Ó Lordáin(Leeside Lions)



Rory O’ Donnell(UCC & Leeside Lions)

Alan Tobin(Wandsworth Demons)




1pm Irish Warriors v German Eagles

3pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Swedish Elks



4pm German Eagles v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Irish Warriors



1.30pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

2.15pm Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

3pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans

4pm Irish Warriors v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v German Eagles



11.30am Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

12.15pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

1pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans



1pm Men’s Third Place PO

2.30pm Women’s Grand Final

3.30pm Men’s Grand Final

(The following team previews are based on those that appear on the AFL Europe website that were then reported on World Footy News www.worldfootynews.com)

Ireland Warriors

The team itself is coming together well, blending a mix of youth and experience. With multiple International medal winners like David McElhone and Eoin O’Suilebhain mixing with some really exciting prospects like Stuart McKeating, Paul Murphy and Luke Hickey this Warriors side looks pretty formidable.

The ruck duo of Gavin Murray and Dominic Joyce (Dominic back in Ireland after multiple seasons playing in rural NSW) will be ones to look out for and can be really dominate. They could dictate first use for their midfielders which is key to winning big games.

The improvement shown by players like Sean Paul Henry is going to be vital for the Warriors. His natural athleticism has always had him at the forefront of opposition discussions but not his foot skills have become a focal point of his game which makes him a really exciting prospect for the Irish side.

Great Britain Bulldogs

With a very young looking Bulldog’s squad, many of who are making their international debut, it’ll be very hard to pick who would potentially provide the difference in this tournament. The University of Birmingham keep producing high quality players and their link up with the North London Lions continues to be fruitful. Ross Denton, Jack Coughlan, Jonny Harvey, Andy Walkden, Chris Britton, George Dibble and Michael Sharp have all come through the pipeline and will be worth a watch at EC16.

The London league is seeing impressive performances from the Wimbledon newbies in Myles Hudson, David Hastie, Marc Cashman and Jason Hill, while Alex Watson and David Jordan at the Wandsworth Demons are putting in highly rated performances along with West London Wildcats defender, Lewis Brackstone.

The AFL CNE league continues to churn out new and young talent in Craig Degville, Andrew Cochran and Harry Duffield. More experienced players such as Owain Ryland, Andy Smith, Will Worthington and Luke Booth will be keys to bringing success, through their big tournament experience and years of service to the Bulldogs. All in all, X-Factor performances have the ability to come from the whole GB squad and we’re as excited as anyone to see who’ll shine at the AFL Europe Champs.

Sweden Elks

You can never go past veteran Andy Svensson. The oldest player in the team seems to get younger when he plays footy. Having played since the early 2000s he is a valued member of the team. Andy was a member of the Denmark side that defeated Great Britain back in 1996 when the Helsingborg Saints were members of the Denmark AFL. New Elks, Alex Olsson and Calle Wrang have proved in domestic footy that they can produce, whilst stalwarts Chris Martensson and Hampus Olsson will lead the team with bravado.

One of the most improved players is Buster Sund from Norrtalje. He was just 17 years old at International Cup in 2014 and gained valuably from that experience to become one of the most dominant players in the Stockholm league in the past two years.

German Black Eagles

The Germans are strong across the park and are blessed with the ability to play their players in any position. A few names to keep an eye out for are big bodied midfielder/defender, Florian Naumann, who can take a strong mark overhead and hits very hard. Ruben Streicher is a raw talent who plays as a tall forward or ruckman. He was named in the Euro Cup team of the tournament last year in Croatia and is only going to improve. Jakob Jung is one to watch for the opposition. He has all the attribute of a top-quality midfielder with his speed and skills, he’s also tough as nails so will be hard to stop in the Champs.

Players who have shown significant improvement for the Eagles are Jan Husken and Simon Assmus. Both will be hoping to continue their rapid develop and shake up competition.


History in the Making: Women’s European Championships in Australian Football

Some of the Banshees at a recent training session
Some of the Banshees at a recent training session

Irish Banshees’ squad

Claire Donnelly  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Terri Kelly            Dublin Angels

Ciara Mone         Ulster Kookaburra’s

Catherine Collins              Dublin Angels

Emma Kelly         Ulster Kookaburra’s

Fiona Roarty       Ulster Kookaburra’s

Carolann Cassidy              Ulster Kookaburra’s

Olivia McCann   Ulster Kookaburra’s

Onóra Mulcahy Wandsworth Demons

Naomi Curtis      Dublin Angels

Mairead Walsh  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Marley Bevan    Dublin Angels

Ursula Murphy  Irish Exiles AFL

Linda Connolly   Wandsworth Demons

Leona Russell     Ulster Kookaburra’s

Claire Doherty   Ulster Kookaburra’s

Clara Fitzpatrick                Ulster Kookaburra’s

Aisling Gillespie Ulster Kookaburra’s

Edel Gray             Ulster Kookaburra’s

Crea McAleer    Ulster Kookaburra’s

Tracey Moloney               Irish Exiles AFL

Amy O’Donnell  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Nuala O’Hagan  Ulster Kookaburra’s

Colleen Quinn   Ulster Kookaburra’s

Oonagh McAnespey       Ulster Kookaburra’s

Niamh Mc Fadden           Ulster Kookaburra’s

Colleen Mallon  Irish Exiles AFL

Ashleigh Payne                 Dublin Angels

The Banshees at IC14
The Banshees at IC14

The below discussion is from World Footy News, more detail on Banshees later in week.

Women have competed at the Euro Cup 9’s since 2010, but the 2016 edition of the European Championships showcases the continuing growth of Women’s Footy across Europe with Great Britain and European Crusaders* joining Ireland in full-field 18-a-side competition.

The Irish Banshees are currently ranked 4th of only four fully Ranked Nations (Played more than 8 International Matches) with 46.81 Rating Points. As Great Britain Swans and the Crusaders debut at this level they begin their international journey with 40.00 Rating Points. It is difficult to predict how the two new teams will measure up against each other and the seasoned campaigners, Ireland, winner of International Cup 2011 and Runners-Up to Canada Northern Lights at IC14.

So if we assume the Higher ranked nation will win more often than not then we could expect to see the Banshees to gain enough rating points (over 2 rounds and final of this tournament) to enable them to climb above United States Freedom into third place behind Australia and Canada.

Great Britain and the European Crusaders will slot in amongst the other provisionally ranked nations possibly at P1 and P4 depending on which team is more successful. Congratulations must be extended to both debutante teams as they join the International Australian Football family of nations

*European Crusaders: Team made up from players from other nations unable to field full 18-a-side teams. This team has players from France, Great Britain and Scandinavia.

Irish Banshees miss out in Oz

Avolon Irish Banshees relinquish their International Cup Crown


report from World Footy News

Women’s Grand Final, Punt Road Oval, 23rd August 2014


On the day on which footy’s traditional rivals, Geelong and Hawthorn clashed just across the Yarra Parklands, where footy began, the Canadian Northern Lights comprehensively defeated the 2011 champions, Ireland. It might have even been bigger than the traditional rivalries in international ice hockey and in the Olympic pool. With 9 Canadians and 6 Irish footballers in the IC2014 best players’ team, and the Banshees’ Laura Corrigan named Female Player of the Tournament, it was guaranteed to be a clash of the titans. While the Irish ran as a phalanx in the pre-match, the Canadians, supported by either a larger crowd or by more colourful supporters, warmed up with skills and drills. That was how the game would unfold.

The Canadians attacked from the opening bounce, their forward movements only limited by Grand Final nerves, with some fumbling, followed by inaccurate kicking for goal, and behinds rushed due to Irish pressure.  Irish marking in the last line of defence seemed the only area of Banshee dominance. In the first quarter, Canada’s the fast running Emma Dickinson drove the ball forward repeatedly with long kicks. She displayed a level of skill which had left some other players on both sides, under Grand Final pressure. After all, ‘grannies’ are not always the most attractive and highly skilled of footy matches, due to that pressure. A solitary point to the Canadians over an Ireland which had rarely taken the ball forward, did not reflect their dominance.

In a sport which had only grown in the last few years, the Canadians had clearly worked on their skills and team system to defeat the 2011 champions. Time after time, handballs out of packs, and strings of handballs in attack –which worked better than they did for Geelong later in the evening – demonstrated Canadian superiority. Would the Irish come back in the second quarter, after they had settled.

Despite the solid marking of Rachel McCann, from the Irish Exiles club, in defence, the Canadians continued to notch up points, with their running game, finally gaoling. Even when Paula Keatley took the ball forward from the centre square for the Banshees it went no further than the 50 metre line. For the Canadians, Charnelle Willis, dubbed the ‘purple people eater’ by some Canuck fans (due to her purple hints in the hair) was picking up kicks. Crucially, the Canadian captain Aimee Legault, from the Montreal Angels, was beginning to display her angelic skills of run on football and long kicking, although again Canadian attacks were often marked by the Irish in the last line of defence.
The Irish were hitting harder, but several times Irish players came down after heavy tackles, rather than their opponents. It seemed that the Irish were frustrated, and it was starting to show in the way they played, while the Canadians seemed to be in possession for 70-80% of the time. The umpires continued to maintain the brilliant standard of umpiring which has characterised the tournament, with roles also played by two American umpires, central umpire Nicole Fasula and goal umpire Toby Persson.  When the Irish again crashed into Aimee Legault a 50 metre penalty allowed her to put the ball into the goal mouth, and then Kirsten Bodashefsky kicked poorly from a slight angle. Only the Canadians’ bad kicking for goal was keeping the Irish in it, with a half time lead of only 1 goal 7 points 13 to three fat zeros for the Banshees.


In the third quarter, the Irish pressure increased, as if the number of Irish players with Australian experience was beginning to impact on their performance.  An early Irish goal suggested that the Banshees still had a chance. However, two Canadian goals, one from a free directly in front, gave the Canadians a comfortable lead of 14 points, which grew to 20 points by the final break, 3 8 26 to one solitary goal.


Three interested watchers, clearly playing for a team which wore black (although only two are Melbourne based) were AFL chief commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick, clearly the ruckman, and the ruck rover and rover, Samantha Mostyn from Sydney and Linda Dessau. They must have been delighted by the display of skills and pressure football which characterise the women’s game, and by the large and enthusiastic crowd.
Like the earlier support of the IC2014 of ‘Mr Football’, as he was known, Ron Barassi, Brian Dixon and Dipper (Robert Dipierdomenico), this was a sign that international footy is a serious business. Perhaps the umpies might have been less pleased, but nor surprised, as cries of ‘pathetic’ flew from the partisan crowd earlier in the match. At a time of the continued dominance, in general play, as well as in the ruck of the tall, but lightly framed, Canadian first ruck, Sylvie De Brabandere, the Canadians were now in control, despite the strong defence of Una McKay and of the marking of Emma Perry. Staring defeat in the face, the Irish continued to hit hard, too hard. There was feeling in the game as the fiery Irish applied physical pressure, with Laura Corrigan sent off after a Canadian was on the turf, and taking a while to get up.
In the last quarter, Canadian dominance finally asserted itself on the scoreboard, even after an early Irish goal suggested that they were not out of the game. Finally, as the free kicks started to flow to the team which led the run to the ball,  the Canadians ran out convincing, and well-deserved, winners, 5 8 38 to a meagre Irish two goals. The goalkicking of Kirsten Bodashefsky and Kendra Heil made the difference, each finishing with two goals apiece, with Heil’s first half bomb a key moment in the match. Despite token security games, when the Canadian bench ran on the field, at the same time as the Canadian men’s cheer squad gathered on the Punt Rd side off the ground, it was clear that the community of football present in the International Cup was more important than attempts to maintain order


Throughout the International Cup has been a festival – a festival of footy, as was apparent by players and supporters from other countries watching the match. The intermingling of players after the match kept up the IC’s tradition of harmony, of footy being bigger than country. The presentation of the Premiership Cup and the medals to players by AFL Commissioner Sam Mostyn provided a ceremonial conclusion. The tears of happiness of Canadian captain Aimee Legault, who also won the award for the best player of the final, and the pleasure of coach Jason Arnold, provided a great emotional moment. As the Canadian Northern Lights had run onto the field through their CanEnglish joking banner it was ‘Aboot time’ for the Light to shine, after several years of developing their game. And finally (slightly better than the ubiquitous Gatorade sprays), the Canadian innovation of a tunnel of fans for the players to run through going back to the changerooms brought a fitting finale to a great competition.


Canada Northern Lights: 0.1 1.7 3.8 5.8 (38)

Ireland: 0.0 0.0 1.0 2.0 (12)


Canada Northern Lights: Heil 2, Bodashefski 2, Legault

Ireland: Corrigan, Keatley


Canada Northern Lights: Legault, Heil, Perry, Dickinson, Annicchiarico, Robertson

Ireland: Kelly, Behan, McKay, McCann, Corrigan, Hazley


Watch a full replay of the game here http://www.afl.com.au/global/aflic14/streaming

Watch IC14 Livestream Here

The opening round of the 2014 AFL International Cup can be watched live at the link below. Ireland’s teams are the first into action with a very early start for the Avolon Irish Banshees whose opening game against debutants Fiji commences at 12.30AM Irish time on Sunday 10th, the Blu Marine Irish Warriors then take on Fiji too at 02.30AM Irish time. We wish both teams well as they set out to retain their titles.

IC 14 Livestream