The GANDEN team are excited for Season 8, knowing there are three Irish players taking the field for the Suns. All three have come from Gaelic Football backgrounds.
Cara McCrossan (left) hails from County Tyrone and has recently played for the Casey Demons in Melbourne in the VFLW. She is a key forward. She is a HSEQ advisor for Shamrock Civil.
Clara Fitzpatrick (centre) is from County Down but has been playing football in Australia since 2016, having been recently drafted from St Kilda. She is a key defender.
Niamh McLaughlan (right) has recently arrived from Ireland, where she was captain of the Donegal Gaelic Football Team and GAA Ladies Footballer of the Year in 2022.
GANDEN’s CEO, Geraldine Nutt, a Dublin native, has been involved in Aussie Rules since meeting her husband and GANDEN’s Managing Director, Darron Nutt in Ireland back in 2000.
Darron, a “Plastic Paddy” through his family’s Irish heritage is a Life Member of AFL Ireland, after being one of the league founders and coached and played with both the Belfast Redbacks and Dublin Demons.
Geraldine and Darron remember being invited to a function at the Australian Embassy in Dublin during the 2000 International Rules Series. The Australian squad included:
– newly appointed Suns head coach Damien Hardwick,
– former Suns head coach Steven King and
– Suns football manager Wayne Campbell.
The Irish and Australians have a strong sports connection as Gaelic Football and Australian Rules Football share many commonalities. Many Irish people support an AFL team and have a good understanding of the game.
AFL Ireland is now in its 23rd year and, like Australia, has a strong women’s league. The current women’s teams represent all four corners of Ireland – Ulster Kookaburras (North), Cork Vikings (South), South Dublin Swans (East) and Galway Magpies (West).
The national women’s team, the Irish Banshees represent Ireland and are ranked number 1 in international competition, having won 11 international titles.
GANDEN welcomes Cara, Clara and Niamh to the Gold Coast and wish them and the Gold Coast Suns the best for Season 8.
GANDEN is proud to be an official Partner of the Gold Coast Suns and the AFLW Coach’s sponsor for Season 8.