Almanac Women’s Footy – VFL: Sinead Omahony

November, new country.

January, new sport.

April, debut in the state’s highest competition of said sport. During its most revolutionary stage.

It’s been an interesting nine months for Melbourne Uni’s Irish recruit Sinead Omahony.


Last year, Omahony was living in Dublin when her partner Jamie Hagan was offered a two-year contract at the Melbourne Rebels, making him just the second fully capped Irish international to play Super Rugby. Omahony made the leap to join him – the move, she says, made her “a little bit heartbroken” – and left behind not just friends and family but a very impressive Gaelic football record. She first played at the age of five and has been in representative sides since she was 12.


“I was pretty devastated to have to leave but the decision was there,” she recalls. “And Jamie was just amazing, he’s been very supportive of my sport over the years and it was an amazing opportunity for him.”


In a stroke of luck, Hagan passed on a Rebels’ physio’s recommendation that she try out in the VFL Talent Search. Omahony caught the eye of Mugar forward Louise Stephenson, who invited her to come train at their Arden St base.

“Lou brought me to the club,” says Omahony. “She was just amazing to me.”


It didn’t take long for Omahony to realise what a serious operation she had gotten herself into. In her first session, coach Andrew Jago screened the Mugars’ 2015 one-point preliminary final loss to Diamond Creek.


“I had never been there before and I sat through that visual,” recalls Omahony. “I could just feel the emotion. You could tell how upset everyone was and how much it meant to them to work hard this year to try to get something back. I thought, ‘This is the team’.”


Ireland has embraced the export of Australian Rules better than any other country in the world, with the International Rules series matches at Croke Park resembling a pilgrimage for Gaelic football fans.


“It is tough, and it’s amazing to watch,” exclaims Omahony.


Coincidentally, female Gaelic has taken on a national foothold in much the same way that it has in Australia. Omahony may have been moving to the other side of the world but there were great parallels between her homeland and this brave new world.


There is no out-of-bounds or going back for a mark in Gaelic football, so it’s faster and more free-flowing than Australian Rules; the hard-running style of Melbourne Uni suits Omahony well. Her teammates have also been able to rely on her for a steady stream of humour as the Irish lingo clashes with that of Australian Rules: malapropisms like “catch”, “linesman” and “gumshield” (that’s mouthguard to us) still tumble out of the Dubliner.


Just five months after arriving in Australia, Sinead Omahony was selected to debut in Round 1 for one of the best teams in Victoria’s highest standard of female football. As a defensive forward, she has gone on to play eight of a possible 12 games, with only injury keeping her out of the side. Her pace and intensity at contests has brought depth to a relatively tall forward line.


One thing Omahony has on her side is the learning environment in which she finds herself. Apart from the club having dedicated kicking and tackling coaches, the art of football is deeply instilled in the Mugars. Since her arrival, Omahony has been taken under the wing of some of the very best players in VFL Women’s in Emma Kearney, Kaitlyn Ashmore, Alicia Janz and Ash Bye.


“I work with the girls before training, and then it’s just week in week out when you’re under pressure in a game sense. I didn’t expect to get this far,” she confesses. “But I don’t think there’s any point in having too high expectations or else I’ll probably put myself under pressure.”



About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.


  1. That’s my girl sinead never a dull moment with you c u at eds wedding in a few weeks I taught u well love da

  2. Hi Callum delighted to see that the Aussies can embrace good footballers no matter what country he or she is from

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