"It's great that you can fit the two in, it would attract a lot of Irish people to go out" 2 years ago

"It's great that you can fit the two in, it would attract a lot of Irish people to go out"

An exciting time in the Kelly household.

A long way from Bohola in the heart of Mayo, sisters Niamh and Grace Kelly are heading Down Under in the new year to pursue a career in the AFLW.


Perth is the destination, West Coast Eagles are the club. The Kellys are looking forward to an opportunity that has arisen because of their brilliance on the Gaelic football field for Mayo.

Their county will miss the two sisters for the League, but the Kellys won't be leaving Mayo stuck for long with the plan to arrive back in the west of Ireland fitter and stronger for the championship.


Ahead of the move, Mayo captain Niamh Kelly joined the PlayXPlay podcast on Monday for a chat about her expectations and hopes ahead of the move.

"As a child, you dream of being a professional athlete or playing at the highest level that you can," she said on the PlayXPlay podcast this week.

"But I never ever thought that AFLW would be on the cards. I didn't even know it was a sport when I was a kid."

A growing trend is that of Ireland's best ladies footballers heading to the AFLW. Cora Staunton was somewhat of a pioneer when she signed up with the Sydney Giants in 2017 but more and more are following with each year.


"Cora was the first Irish woman to go out, then Yvonne Bonner went...It was a hard decision at the time but we were kind of thinking, we'll never get an opportunity like this again..."

"There's fifteen out at the moment but there are more going this year, like there are even five more from Mayo alone going out..."


As for the game itself, the Kellys are bracing themselves for the inconsistent bounces and the trickier kick.

"There are a lot of skills that we have to get used to. Even just kicking the ball, the bounce as well - it's so unpredictable. It doesn't just come back up to you, it could bounce anywhere. The physicality side too, it might be a bit more physical but I suppose we will get used to it.

"At the moment it's great that you can fit the two in. I know you're missing the League but you might come back in better shape and fitter and stronger then for the championship. That's something that would attract a lot of Irish people to go out..."

And her position, the club have told her that she'll be playing as the 'stalker,' which she explained in detail.

"I asked them where would I play if I was to play on an AFL team and they said 'you'd be the stalker.' Basically it's a half forward, you'd be picking up the loose ball where the forwards go up and the stalker part of it just means that I'd be marking a player who'd be going up and down..."

Team mates with your sibling, the 'stalker' position and some love for cruciate heroes.


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