The 2019 European Championships are just around the corner and as part of the build-up, AFL Europe will be previewing all nine teams involved in this year’s tournament. The European Championship is AFL Europe’s premier 18-a-side tournament, played every three years, and this year will see teams from across the continent travel to London to see who comes out on top.
In this edition of squad previews we take a look at one of the most successful national sides in recent AFL Europe history, the women’s side of the Irish Banshees.
The AFL Ireland Women’s league has had a successful season and with the addition of several new clubs, there are plenty of new Irish women picking up the game domestically and the standard continues to grow.
With the Great Britain Swans taking out the European Championships event in the last outing back in 2016, Ireland are looking to turn that around this year and be the current holders of all major AFL Europe event trophies.
In the women’s division, Ireland are currently reigning champs of every international tournament, except this European Championship.
They’ll be out for redemption to complete their current collection of the Fitzpatrick Cup with UCC, the Champions League with the West Clare Waves and the Euro Cup and International Cup from their national Banshees side.
In the most recent of these, the Euro Cup, the Banshees showed just how dominant they can be, displaying some high scoring performances and even winning the final by 30 points over a strong England Vixens side.
They will be the side to beat this year and coming off a dominant Euro Cup display, will show plenty of confidence and flare in their game style.
Crowds at Wimbledon Park will flock to this side, as they play risky, through the corridor footy and with their pace and willingness to play on, this Irish side will put the opposition on the back foot for some eye catching game play.
Changing from 9-a-side to an 18-a-side format for the first time since 2017 will be challenging, but this Banshees side have proven in the past that they can use their fitness and skills to fit any occasion.
Playing in the 18 a side format in the International Cup in Melbourne in 2017, the Irish women’s side beat the powerhouse of Canada to take out the cup.
This experience at Etihad Stadium, under all types of pressure, will help many of their side mentally for this tournament and will go a long way towards their success in London next week.
Focused on a successful tournament and the thought of taking out all major AFL Europe trophies on all the players and staff members minds, this tournament is also great preparation for bigger times ahead.
With the 2020 International Cup in Australia not far away, this tournament will give the Banshees a chance to prepare and get used to the 18-a-side format again and put them in good stead to take out any tournament that comes their way.
Showcasing some of the best players Europe has to offer, the Irish Banshees will come out strong and play an exciting brand of footy.
Expect to see them in a good position come finals time and to be a real threat to take out another major AFL Europe trophy.
Liam McAllion – AFL Europe