HomeFootballWhile Orchard is in bloom Melbourne Demons await Aimee Mackin’s return

While Orchard is in bloom Melbourne Demons await Aimee Mackin’s return

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Mackin put down her first season with the Melbourne Demons in 2023 alongside her sister Blaithín but the pair have permission to see out Armagh’s year before jetting Down Under again.

Given the impact Irish players have had, AFLW outfits continue to allow leeway to their Irish players to play county football, which can mean they jet out just days before the season starts in Australia, should they go all the way to the All-Ireland final. Despite the overlap in seasons, 34 Irish players are set to play in the new AFLW campaign, surpassing last season’s record of 33.

“The [Demons] are totally supportive of what we do here at home in our Gaelic season,” Mackin explained.

“They totally understand what it means to us to come back. They want you to do well and obviously that means going out to them later.

“They want to see you do well and go as long as you can in our season. I think the sort of element of the game over here, it’s a fast-paced game and they like that when you go over to use your speed in transition as such.”

Given Armagh’s early-season form, the Demons may be in for quite the wait. The Orchard won their first Division 1 league title, seeing off Kerry in the final.

“It was brilliant. We haven’t been there in Division 1 too often or in finals in Croke Park too often so it was a really nice experience for us as a group of players and we enjoyed the celebrations with our families and friends and having a match in Croke Park was extra special.

“Division 1 was a big thing to get back up to last year and we want to be playing the likes of Dublin, Kerry, Mayo every week and it was a good experience. Initially we set out just to stay up in Division 1 and with a bit of momentum we ended up in the final and yeah, it was brilliant to win it.”

Mackin accepts that while their league win marks them out as a team to be watched, they can only worry about themselves.

“Obviously teams will watch us as well but I think that’s just part and parcel of the game. It’s just something you have to get used to, all of us as players. But I think that’s always the case.

“No one would go into a game and not analyse the opposition in a way, so that’s just part of it. We analyse other teams and they analyse us. It’s very fine margins now in games. You look at all the games in the league and it’s fine margins as to what side you come out. We can only control what we can do ourselves.”

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