Doonan bound for Oz as All Ireland journey comes to end

AS the final whistle blew on Sunday afternoon, there was a huge sense of disappointment for the Kinawley ladies as their All Ireland club journey ended. For Kinawley captain, Joanne Doonan, it had even more significance because she knows that it’s the last game she’ll play with this group of girls for at least a year and maybe longer, if things go to plan.

Doonan is making the move to Australia to pursue her dream of playing football professionally. The 27 year-old has already some experience,  Doonan signed with Carlton as a rookie during the 2019 rookie signing period in September that year and went on to make her debut against Richmond at Ikon Park in the opening round of the 2020 season but the emergence of the Covid pandemic put paid to the Kinawley woman’s plans and she flew home earlier than planned.

Now, she is ready to give it “another shot” she says.

“I have a burning desire to give it another crack. I feel like I didn’t get as much game time as I wanted the last time and I feel that I have a lot more to give. I have nothing to lose. I still said that I wanted to go back and go travelling to Australia again, so it is a good mixture of both.

“If I don’t get picked, I don’t get picked, but at least I can’t ever say that I didn’t try it and I would have regretted not going back.”

Doonan has been working as a Games Development Office with Fermanagh GAA and is also a fitness coach but will be putting all that to one side as she plans to fly out to Australia in mid February and unlike the last time, when she had been scouted by AFL side Carlton.

This time she is joining a club, Essendon in the Victoria league (VFL) in Melbourne and will hope that if she shows the kind of form she is capable of producing, it won’t be long before she’s back playing her trade in the top tier once again.

It is something that Doonan has been thinking about for quite a while now;

“I had a chat with a team from Adelaide as well and my old skills coach from Carlton has moved back to Perth and he was looking out (for me) but Perth is too hard to get into with visas at the minute. With more teams in Melbourne, there is more of a chance of being seen playing against their VFL side as well. It gives me that bit of exposure and Melbourne would be the best standard of VFL at that level, so I just want to play against the best.”

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