Sarah Rowe comfortable with Mayo manager's 'stay or go' ultimatum

Mayo star Sarah Rowe understands the hardline stance taken by her county coach Peter Leahy who has decided that his players will have to choose between their native code and Aussie Rules.
Sarah Rowe comfortable with Mayo manager's 'stay or go' ultimatum
Sarah Rowe in action for Mayo in last year's All-Ireland semi-final loss to Galway. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Sarah Rowe in action for Mayo in last year's All-Ireland semi-final loss to Galway. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Mayo star Sarah Rowe understands the hardline stance taken by her county coach Peter Leahy who has decided that his players will have to choose between their native code and Aussie Rules.

There were 12 Irish players playing in the recent, truncated AFLW season. Four of them – Rowe, Aileen Gilroy as well as Niamh and Grace Kelly - were from Mayo.

Rowe has juggled both commitments for the past number of years by impressing with Collingwood while turning down the offer of a two-year contract so that she would be free to turn out for the Connacht county in the championship and latter stages of the league.

That won't be good enough for Leahy from now on.

The Westmeath native told Midwest Radio back in May that it was one way or the other going forward. He argued that the demands on inter-county now are such that being a dual player is an impossibility let alone someone trying to play in two hemispheres.

Leahy also pointed to the absence of any Cork players Down Under, claiming that there was a belief in their ranks that they would win every time they pulled on the red jersey. Mayo people, he said, needed to start thinking similarly.

Rowe has juggled both commitments for the past number of years by impressing with Collingwood. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Rowe has juggled both commitments for the past number of years by impressing with Collingwood. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“We haven't met up or had one-on-one conversations yet,” said Rowe. “I'm sure that conversation is down the tracks as well but ... I just don't know at the moment. Things are too uncertain, travel restrictions are too uncertain. All those things.

“Until all that changes, I won't know what I am doing but I completely respect where Peter is coming from and understand the position he is in. Whatever decision we make will be the right one for us but we will see down the line.”

The 'sign-in' period for the next AFLW season doesn't swing around again until the first two weeks or so in August and the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 hasn't gone away so there is time yet for discussions and decisions. Until then, Rowe is concentrating on her training with the club and an All-Ireland campaign with Mayo.

Whatever happens from here on in, the Australian adventure has been a blast for her.

“It's been great, such a good opportunity. Physically, mentally, self-learning, and self-growth, it's been really good,” she explained.

“Just being in a professional environment and picking the brains of elite athletes around you. I have learned so much about myself and what it looks like to be a high-performance athlete has been brilliant. It has been such a good opportunity and I really enjoyed it.”

- Sarah Rowe, 20x20 and Lidl ambassador, was speaking on the launch of 'Lidl Moves' Lidl Ireland's new exercise programme and microsite which is part of their support of the 20x20 campaign's, ‘No Proving. Just Moving.’ initiative.

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