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Doonan ready for Sunday’s Grand Final

This weekend, Joanne Doonan will play in the VFL Women’s Grand Final when Essendon takes on Southern Saints in the decider.

In the semi final, Doonan kicked three goals as they saw off Casey Demons in a 76-9 victory. It is the first-ever final for Essendon and Doonan is hoping she can end her VFL career on a high;

“It would be a great year for sport in terms of my experience (to win). It would be amazing to win any final. Not that you take finals at home for granted at all, I feel like a lot of girls over here have never been in a final, nevermind a VFL final.

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“There’s a good few of our squad who have been here from the very start, so it’s lovely to think of doing it for them. There is that bit of community and a sense of oneness about it. It’s a really, really good group, so I’d love to get something at the end of it, and obviously the big change of going to AFL at the end of it, it’s like one last hurrah and it would be amazing to finish on that high and really set us up going into the AFL season.”

Doonan joined Essendon back in February, having previously had a stint with Carlton in 2020. The Kinawley player has gone from strength to strength and last month was one of four player’s from the club’s VFL to be signed for the AFL team. While she started in a more midfield role, she is now plying her trade in the forward line, a switch that took some getting used to, she admits;

“There’s a lot more pressure because you might only get one ball the whole quarter and you have to make sure that once you get that one ball, you have to do something good with it because you mightn’t get another opportunity for a while. It was tough to get into it.

“There’s some things we can learn from the way the Australian’s play and there’s some things that they like the way we do it in Gaelic. I wanted to play more to my strengths and it happened to work (in the semi).

“I feel like I’m really enjoying the challenge and feel a lot more comfortable, the more games that goes on.”

The game which will be streamed live (3.15am Sunday morning, UK time) by the AFL wesbite, is one which Doonan believes they can win;

“We will probably be going in favourites, I think that comes with its pros and cons. The last two games, we’ve had impressive wins over the other teams but you don’t want to be in any way complacent going into it. But, if we continue with that momentum, it’s going to be a really good game. We drew against Saints in the first game and won by a goal in the second round, so they are one of our toughest opponents. It’s definitely achievable and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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