CORK ladies football manager Shane Ronayne admits he is concerned by the exodus of players Down Under to the AFLW.
The Rebels were rocked by the decision of All-Star defender Erika O’Shea to swap GAA for Aussie Rules as she has signed with North Melbourne for the upcoming season.
O’Shea joins a growing list of footballers swapping codes, with Meath All-Ireland winners Orlagh Lally and Vikki Wall and the Mayo quartet of Sarah Rowe, Niamh Kelly, Grace Kelly and Aileen Gilroy amongst the galaxy of GAA stars signed up with AFLW clubs.
‘I don’t really like the narrative out there that we should be delighted for all these players going out there because there is a huge effort being put in by their clubs and by inter-county as well,’ Ronayne told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘I don’t begrudge any player going to Australia because it’s a huge opportunity, but there has to be disappointment on behalf of their inter-county management and their club management because you are losing seriously talented players.
‘I’ve experienced it with Tipperary and with Cork and I think it will become an increasing thing in the game because it has expanded in Australia. Now you don’t have the opportunity to play both. It is a worry. I can’t see how anyone would be delighted about losing a brilliant player. Obviously on a personal level you are delighted for them to get this opportunity but from a team’s point of view you are going to be disappointed.
‘It’s a great opportunity for Erika and all the Irish girls to go out, but it’s a worrying thing from a ladies football point of view. The fact that a lot of our star players are going to go out there, that decreases the marketability of ladies football.
‘I saw someone tweeting that if this was happening in the men’s game, that if all our stars were going, there would be uproar. It’s something that has to be looked at. How do we combat it? I don’t know. We obviously can’t offer players contracts but maybe we could make it a little bit more enticing to stay at home.’