Mayo legend Cora Staunton has signed a professional Aussie Rules contract
What a crazy 48 hours that was for Cora Staunton.
The Mayo GAA legend is to become a professional athlete at the age of 34, some 21 years after making her inter-county debut.
Staunton was picked up by the Great Western Sydney Giants in the Women's AFL [Aussies Rules] draft on Wednesday and will take her first steps in the game next year.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) October 18, 2017
Staunton had only arrived in Australia on Monday but impressed in a try-out and convinced women's head coach Alan McConnell and men’s assistant coach (former Cavan footballer) Nick Walsh that she had all the ingredients to make an impact next year.
The women's GAA legend made it to Croke Park with Mayo, last month, but fell at the final hurdle to Dublin. There has been no official retirement from GAA and with last season beginning on February 3 and concluding on March 25, Staunton could conceivably return to play at home once it's over.
"It will be a huge challenge but us Irish love a challenge,” Staunton told the Herald Sun.
"I’ve never played AFL before and had my first practice at it with Alan and Nick this morning. Getting used to the ball will be the biggest thing, along with the rules of the game."
We don't doubt for a moment that she will be fully up to speed by the time early 2018 comes around.
Before she flew out to Australia, Staunton helped her club side Carnacon to their 19th county title during her time with them. A truly incredible achievement.
— Cora Staunton (@duckie15) October 8, 2017
McConnell is looking forward to working with the GAA scoring sensation, who has also proved handy at football and rugby in the past. He said:
"Cora comes from an elite football background in Ireland and she has been nominated 10 times for women's GAA All Stars... she's a goal-kicking forward so we're looking for her to bring some goal-kicking power to our team as a deep forward."
As for playing in front of sizeable crowds, the Giants coach happily noted the attendance at that Dublin vs. Mayo game was 46,000.
Club titles, an All-Ireland run, a move to Australia AND an appearance on The GAA Hour Live...
— Cora Staunton (@duckie15) August 17, 2017
2017 has been a year to remember for Staunton.
2018 could top that still.