Sarah Rowe: 'No doubt we will see Cork players going to Australia at some point'

Sarah Rowe has no issue with Peter Leahy's warning that the time has come for players to choose between Mayo and Aussie Rules.
Sarah Rowe: 'No doubt we will see Cork players going to Australia at some point'
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. Picture: Jar Finnegan
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. Picture: Jar Finnegan

Sarah Rowe has no issue with Peter Leahy's warning that the time has come for players to choose between Mayo and Aussie Rules.

The county manager declared as much in an interview with Midwest Radio back in May and on the back of a spell when Rowe, Aileen Gilroy, and the Kelly sisters, Niamh and Grace, had all featured in an AFLW season which ended prematurely due to the pandemic.

Leahy's views on such double-jobbing had been out there for a while so his drawing of a line in the sand two months ago was no huge surprise. Certainly not for Rowe who has starred for Collingwood this past two seasons before returning to duties with her native county.

“I kind of knew that something like that was down the tracks,” said Rowe. “I completely understand where he is coming from too. We go off and we play for a certain amount of time, we come back and come straight into the team. It's just out of respect for the other girls as well.

“It is probably getting more physically demanding doing ladies football and the AFLW so there was always going to be a time where there had to be a decision.”

Leahy is not against the idea of players trying their hand at Aussie Rules but he has criticised the value of the contracts offered to Irish players and pointed out that the growing number of them has served to dilute the talent on offer in the Lidl national leagues.

Those playing with Aussie clubs have, prior to this year, been returning towards the latter stages of the league and Leahy has made the point that no Cork players have as yet joined the exodus. This, he said, was down to their desire and belief that they would win every time they played.

Mayo people, he added, needed to start thinking that way too.

Rowe isn't privy to the reasons why no Cork players have appeared in the AFLW.

“People have other things going on outside their life and, you know, that might be the reason Cork girls mightn’t have gone to Australia, but I am sure there will be opportunities down the line. No doubt we will see Cork players going at some point.

“My loyalty to Mayo has always been to the forefront. I absolutely adore Mayo and I want to play for Mayo until I can’t walk any more. That’s never been in question. For the Kellys, it’s the same, and for Aileen Gilroy. We all love playing for Mayo. It’s something we’ve done for our whole lives.

“And something we plan to do in the future.”

Rowe doesn't seem at all perturbed by any of this. There is 'complete respect' for Leahy's stance and, anyway, talk of a choice between one hemisphere and another may yet be moot given the fact we are still living in a Covid-19 world.

Melbourne, the epicentre of Aussie Rules, went back into lockdown yesterday as coronavirus cases soared and the sign-on window for players for the next AFLW season doesn't open until August 1st. The priority, for now, is her club. Kilmoremoy, that is, not Collingwood.

Then Mayo.

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