The AFL International Cup is nearly upon us. It has been a huge few months for the teams finalising their preparations for the two week tournament held in Melbourne. In the lead up to the tournament kicking off on Sunday 6th August we’ll be taking a look at the eight European teams making the journey and competing for the title of IC Champions. Next up in our tournament previews is 2011 IC winners, the ALFA Irish Banshees.
History of the Banshees
The Irish Banshees have been competing Internationally since 2010 when they played Italy at the Euro Cup in Milan. The team have an unbeaten record at the Euro Cup and were the winners of the inaugural International Cup for women in 2011.
They competed in the first women’s European Championship held in London last year and were winners of the first women’s London Footy Carnival held in May this year.
Last IC and European Championships
The Banshees went into IC14 as reigning champions and kicked off their campaign with a huge 61-point win. It was much of the same against Tonga, USA Liberty and Canadian Midnight Suns for the remainder of their round robin games amassing a total of 278-points for and only 33-points against.
Stunningly this wasn’t good even to secure top spot with Canada’s first team, the Northern Lights, claiming the podium with a percentage of 1890. It meant the two were to face-off in another IC final after the Banshees won the previous edition 39 to 8.
Unfortunately for the Banshees is was the Canadians who proved too strong in this encounter with the score line reading 5.8 (38) to 2.0 (12).
It was a similar story at last year’s European Championships as the Banshees fell short by a kick to new-comers the GB Swans. It was a testing couple of days in London but the Swans held on for a memorable victory in tough conditions.
Round 1: vs USA
Round 2: vs European Crusaders
Round 3: vs PNG
Semi-Finals: vs TBC
Grand Finals: vs TBC
Player to Watch
The in-and-under midfielder must have a huge tournament if the Irish are to reclaim their title. Her work on the inside contest is imperative to the Irish moving the ball forward. This coupled with her tackle pressure mean she’ll have a big say in how the tournament pans out for the Banshees.
IC17 Crystal Ball
It’s set to be a huge tournament for the Banshees. They’ll be out to claim revenge and take back their crown as IC champions. Many regard the Irish and Canadians as a level above the rest at the IC and they’ll both be expected to square off again in the final.
But they’ll have to knock off a host of teams looking to take it to them first with USA, European Crusaders and PNG opponents in the opening rounds. If the draw plays true to form this should have them playing against the GB Swans in the semi-final and will be a huge game for European footy.
The Irish come to International tournaments to win and if they fall short they’ll be shattered with the result. Expect them to feature heavily at the pointy end of the competition.