By James O'Connor
Just two days after the Irish Banshees reclaimed the AFL Euro Cup from England in CIT, coach Michael Currane is already thinking about getting his team ready for next year.
In horrible conditions, the Banshees won six out of six games on Saturday, beating England 5.3(33)-1.2(8) in the final, but there’s not much time for celebration for Currane and his team.
“The Women’s AFLI Premier League starts next weekend so we’re getting straight back into it. From those matches we’ll select of 55 person squad for trials and then we’ll be finalising our squad again for the Euro Cup 2019 in Norrtalje, Sweden,” Currane said.
“We’re excited to see who can push on during the premier league and get into to squad. It’s crazy to be thinking of next year already but it will be here before we know it.”
Saying that, Saturday’s final will not be forgotten by Currane anytime soon.
With 13 Euro Cup debutants in the Irish squad, it was nervy times for Ireland in Saturday’s final when they conceded an early goal to the side that beat them comfortably in last year's final.
But led by captain Mella Morey, the Banshees regathered themselves and swarmed the England defence to run out deserved winners, to the relief and delight of Currane.
“It was amazing. It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Especially beating England, who beat us in last year’s final, that was important for us.
“Better conditions would have suited us because we are a strong fast team that move the ball quickly. It was a downpour all day, but the girls showed grit and stamina to play six games in that weather.
“Before the final there was a combination of nerves and excitement. Throughout the whole day we had been taking it one game at a time, but when we got to the parade and sang the national anthem there was definitely nerves. Especially with our 13 new players, with a packed stand in CIT it was a new experience for a lot of them. Once the first siren went off though it was very much down to business.
“It’s been a huge year for AFL Women’s Ireland, considering we only started the league last year and now we’re European champions again, we’re building up the momentum. It was great to have the people of Cork there to watch us lift the trophy, despite the weather”