Kerry’s Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh believes that whereas the increased wages in the women’s AFL might be tempting for players, the Australian game’s new calendar will act as a balancing factor.
She was speaking at the presentation of the year’s first GPA Player of the Month awards, for March - recognition of her key role in Kerry’s promotion to Division One of the football league.
Also honoured were Antrim camogie's Róisín McCormick, Waterford hurler Stephen Bennett and Kerry footballer David Clifford.
Now in her 15th year with the Kerry footballers, Ní Mhuircheartaigh was asked about the potential impact of the 94 per cent rise in salaries for AFLW players as an enhanced lure for county players.
“It might be but I think the change in their season and the possibility of missing out on championship at home might have people staying in in Ireland as well and that might work against them.”
The AFLW has announced a new calendar of fixtures, which sees the Australian game now clashing with the women’s football championship, meaning that the previous practice of players being able to participate in both is no longer feasible.
Some high-profile players are however making the move including Meath's All-Ireland winning Player of the Year Vikki Wall.
Meath were Kerry’s predecessors as Division Two champions and went on to claim last year’s All-Ireland in a sensational victory over five-in-a-row seeking Dublin. Ní Mhuircheartaigh said that this success had placed Kerry’s defeat in last year’s Division Two final in a more encouraging context.
“We faced them ourselves twice last year and they beat us in the league final and they went on to win the All-Ireland. When we lost to them, people were like ‘geez, what kinda happened?’ We said, ‘look, they’re a good team,’ and then when they won the Ireland, everyone saw it for themselves.
“They went on to win (this year’s) Division One and it’s just been a dream for them. But look, they have obviously put in the hard yards and they really believe in in their ability and having the right structure and right management.”