Mayo legend Cora Staunton is swapping GAA for professional sport after agreeing a deal with AFL side Greater Western Sydney Giants.
It’s been confirmed that the veteran forward, widely regarded as one of the greatest players ever to lace up a pair of boots, will join the Greater Western Sydney Giants this week.
Staunton won four All Ireland titles with Mayo, in a career spanning 22 years. The 35-year-old began her Mayo career while in first year of secondary school, she joined the panel at 13.
Playing in her 7th All Ireland final, she was on the losing side last month as they were beaten by Dublin in the decider at Croke Park.
Her sport experience extends beyond gaelic games, she captained Castlebar to a first Connacht Rugby Women's League title back in 2013.
The Mayo taliswoman won the greatest prize in women’s soccer in Ireland as well when she lifted the FAI Cup in 2006.
Staunton was in theMayo Ladies League representative team that beat UCD 1–0 in the final.
The women’s competition of the AFL began last year with the Adelaide Crows claiming silverware in the inaugural Grand Final.
Cora Staunton is looking forward to the challenge, telling the Australian Daily Telegraph: “It will be a huge challenge but us Irish love a challenge.”
“I’ve never played AFL before and had my first practice at it with Alan and Nick this morning.
“Getting used to the ball will be the biggest thing, along with the rules of the game.”
“Cora Staunton is probably the surprise package of the selections in the draft,” coach Alan McConnell added.
“Cora comes from an elite background in football in Ireland. She recently played in the All Ireland final at Croke Park in front of 46,000 people on the back end of that competition, unfortunately losing.
“She’s a goal-kicking forward so we’re looking for her to bring some goal-kicking power to our team as a deep forward.”