Aussie Rules football will return to TG4 this year as the station announced it will broadcast weekly matches and highlights from the AFLW (Australian Football League Women’s) season.
As Irish interest continues to deepen in the fifth year of the league, fans can tune in to watch a deferred match each Saturday evening, with highlights on Mondays from 8pm.
A total of 14 Irish players have completed their quarantine periods Down Under to take part in the expanded 14-team format, which will run over 12 weekends from the end of January to the Grand Final on April 18/19.
AFLW pioneer Cora Staunton returns to GWS Giants for her fourth campaign, although Cork legend Bríd Stack was cruelly ruled out for much of the season after suffering a neck fracture on her pre-season debut.
There are five Mayo footballers back in Australia this spring; Staunton, sisters Grace and Niamh Kelly at West Coast Eagles, Aileen Gilroy at North Melbourne, and Sarah Rowe at Collingwood, where she is joined by Cavan’s Aishling Sheridan.
Three of Dublin’s four-in-a-row All-Ireland champions will line out for Melbourne FC, with Lauren Magee joining Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy this season.
Clare’s Ailish Considine was Ireland’s first AFLW champion and she will be aiming to help Adelaide Crows to retain their title.
Tipperary duo Aisling McCarthy (West Coast Eagles) and Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions), and Leitrim’s Áine Tighe (Freemantle Dockers) complete the Irish contingent.
TG4’s coverage will begin on Saturday, January 30th, at 5.10pm with full deferred coverage from a top first round match.
“We are proud to expand the AFLW broadcast to Ireland, a significant announcement for Australian Football given the impact Irish footballers have had on the NAB AFL Women’s Competition,” said Nicole Livingstone, AFL Head of Women’s Football.
“We have 14 Irish players currently on AFLW lists and it is great to know that their family and friends back home will be able to watch them in action this season.”
TG4 Head of Sport Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said they were pleased to agree the deal and thanked the AFL for the opportunity to showcase their sport in Ireland.