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Magee joins ranks of Dubs on way to Australia

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Lauren Magee will join Melbourne

Lauren Magee will join Melbourne

SPORTSFILE

Lauren Magee will join Melbourne

Lauren Magee has become the third Dublin footballer to sign up with Melbourne FC for the 2021 AFLW campaign.

A three-time All-Ireland medallist with Mick Bohan's team, Magee will join Sineád Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy in the Victorian capital, both of whom spent a season with the Demons earlier this year.

An All Star in 2018, Magee - whose father Johnny played with the Dublin men's team - is the first new Irish recruit announced for the 2021 season.

Currently, there are 16 players confirmed on AFLW clubs' books for next year, although the other 15 have previous experience of competing in Oz.

Like Goldrick and McEvoy, the 23-year-old will travel to Australia after Dublin's involvement in this year's All-Ireland ladies' football championship is over.

"It's an incredible experience to be given the opportunity to play AFLW, especially for a club like Melbourne that has a close connection to Dublin GAA," the Kilmacud Crokes player told Melbourne FC's official website.

"I decided to pursue AFLW as a personal challenge to learn a new game and its skills. I really respect the game and to train and play at a professional level is something I'm extremely grateful for.

"There's many skills that transfer over from Gaelic to AFLW; the foot pass, high catch, and tackling particularly. I hope my tackling and speed can add to the team performance."

The likelihood now is that the trio will miss most - possibly all - of Dublin's League campaign in 2021 and there have been suggestions that the escalating success of Irish imports will prompt an acceleration in the recruitment drive from the AFLW.

However, Dublin manager Bohan insisted "we should not be frightened" of allowing GAA and LFGA players to make the most of such opportunities.

"Inter-county football is here to enhance their lives, not stifle them," he said.

"If playing games opens up doors of opportunity through employment, friendships, character building or the opportunity to travel and play a different sport, then so be it."

"Brian O'Driscoll left Clontarf GAA Club when he was 13 or 14, I had him for four years and people talked about the great loss that we had, even though nobody knew if Brian O'Driscoll was going to end up as a Gaelic footballer," Bohan said.

"But apparently, he was a great loss, as opposed to seeing that a fella from our parish who played for our club, ended up playing Test rugby for Ireland and possibly became one of the greatest players of all time.

"I don't begrudge anybody playing any different sport and if that's what they feel is the right decision for them, then that's what they should do. That's my feeling as regards the girls going to Australia."

The relationship between Dublin GAA and Melbourne FC seems an amicable one. Speaking to Melbourne's website, the club's AFLW List Manager Todd Patterson thanked Dublin for their support.

"It's really exciting for us to be able to sign Lauren and have her join our women's programme," he said.