Gaelic star dominates first-ever women's AFL Europe Combine

ONE OF Ireland's best Gaelic footballers starred in the first-ever women's AFL Europe Combine in Dublin at the weekend.

Geraldine McLaughlin was the fastest of the 13 players on trial in the 20m sprint (3.22sec) and agility test (8.56sec) to immediately put her on AFLW recruiters' radar for the 2021 season. 

Those results would have placed the 26-year-old from Donegal second in each test at this year's NAB AFLW Draft Combine, which was held in October.

McLaughlin, a 163cm forward, is highly regarded for her finishing in the Gaelic game, has twice earned Team of the League honours and also won an All-Ireland Senior Club medal.

Her kicking skills also impressed Ciaran Byrne, who played 22 games for Carlton and now oversees the women's Australian Football development program in Ireland. 

There are already 18 Irishwomen set to compete in the upcoming NAB AFLW season – and McLaughlin wasn't the only Combine participant to shine. 

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Another small forward, County Kerry's Sarah Houlihan, registered a Combine-best level 18 in the gut-busting Yo-Yo test, which would have comfortably won the Australian equivalent.

Houlihan, like McLaughlin, is a prominent figure in Gaelic football, as a three-time All-Star recipient. 

Others to impress were Dublin's 2018 All-Star Lauren Magee (3.40sec for 20m sprint and 16.7 in the Yo-Yo) and Roscommon's Jenny Higgins (3.40sec for 20m sprint and 17.5 in the Yo-Yo). 

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Vicki Wall also tested again, two months after being one of three Irishwomen to fly to Australia for the AFLW Draft Combine. 

Wall, 21, is a powerful athlete in the mould of Richmond recruit Sabrina Frederick and placed third in the 20m sprint (3.36sec) and fourth in the agility test (9.33sec).

Vicki Wall during the 2km time trial at October's AFLW Draft Combine. Picture: AFL Photos

Recruiters noted her sharp improvement in her marking and kicking skills with the Sherrin. 

Ireland's Wall, Olivia Divilly – the star of the Australian Combine – and Saoirse Noonan elected not to nominate for the draft after the Combine but remain in the AFLW mix.

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