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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Blaithin Mackin: Armagh player helps Demons win Women’s Australian Rules title

Blaithin Mackin helped the Demons win the Women’s AFL Grand Final in her first season with the Melbourne club

Armagh’s Blaithin Mackin netted one of Melbourne Demons’ goals as they clinched a surprise win over Brisbane in the Women’s AFL Grand Final.

Mackin struck Melbourne’s first goal in the 10th minute on the way to their 2.7 (19) to 2.3 (15) victory in Brisbane.

Dublin’s Sinead McGoldrick was also part of the Demons squad.

Mackin, a Ladies Gaelic Football Allstar in 2020, began her first AFL campaign in July after Armagh’s All-Ireland quarter-finals defeat by Kerry.

Brisbane, who included Tipperary woman Orla O’Dwyer, led by two points at half-time but Tayla Harris’ goal put Melbourne four ahead and they held on during the closing stages.

Speaking to BBC News Northern Ireland last month, Mackin described being able to play sport full-time in Australia as feeling “like a dream sometimes”.

“At home you are working full-time hours so you didn’t get as much time to focus on the off-field stuff, like your nutrition, your recovery,” said the Armagh woman.

“Now that I have the time to do that and recover well and get myself ready for the next training session, it definitely makes a big difference.”

Established in 2017, the AFLW aims to become a full-time professional sport by 2026 and as it grows toward that goal, the players salaries have grown too.

While still a fraction of the average salary in the men’s game – which is over AUD$370,000 (£210,000) – AFLW salaries almost doubled for the 2022 season.

They will range from a minimum wage of AUD$39,184 (£22,235) to over AUD$70,000 (about £40,000) for top-tier players.

Despite her success in Australia, Mackin intends to return home to compete for Armagh in 2023.

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