Another Irish absentee as Donegal star withdraws from 2021 AFLW season due to husband’s travel issues

DONEGAL STAR YVONNE Bonner has become the third Irish player to withdraw from the 2021 Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] season.

Yvonne Bonner.

Source: AAP/PA Images

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First reported by The42, her club Greater Western Syndey [GWS] Giants have since confirmed that Bonner will not return to Australia for a third season in the league.

“Bonner, the Gaelic football cross-coder, will miss the 2021 season after her husband Paul was not granted exemption to enter the country given the tightened border restrictions in place due the COVID-19 situation,” an article from the club reads.

The Glenfin forward is now on the Giants’ inactive list, with hopes that she’ll return for the future while ladies football legends Cora Staunton and Bríd Stack fly the Irish flag at the Sydney outfit. 

Staunton, who recently turned 39, is gearing up for a fourth season having kicked 19 goals in 21 games for the Giants, and overcoming a career-threatening injury to continue a glittering sporting journey overseas. Cork great Stack, meanwhile, is set for her debut season with both stars currently isolating.

Bonner remains rooted to home soil, however, having played 11 AFLW games across two seasons — though an ankle injury disrupted her 2020 campaign — kicking seven goals.

This news comes after her positive return to the Donegal colours for this year’s championship.

Briana Harvey, Head of Women’s Football at the Giants, said the club was disappointed not to have Bonner back this season: “She’s been here with us for the last couple of seasons, but understandably with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, it just didn’t happen for them this year.

It's a 'see you soon' to Yvonne Bonner and a 'hello' to Erin Todd at the @gwsgiants 🧡

— AFL Women's (@aflwomens) December 18, 2020

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“We’ll put Yvonne on the inactive list and then hopefully we can get her out again for the 2022 season. Whilst we lose Yvonne for this season, we welcome ‘Toddy’ to the group who we think will fit in seamlessly given her background.”

That’s a nod to the key forward’s replacement, former Women’s National Basketball League [WNBL] ace Erin Todd.

Bonner’s Donegal team-mate Katy Herron and Down’s Clara Fitzpatrick were also late withdrawals ahead of the 2021 season, in which 14 Irish players will now line out.

The 14 Irish players confirmed for the 2021 season are as follows:

  • Lauren Magee (Melbourne FC / Dublin)
  • Sinéad Goldrick (Melbourne FC / Dublin)
  • Niamh McEvoy (Melbourne FC / Dublin)
  • Cora Staunton (GWS Giants / Mayo)
  • Brid Stack (GWS Giants / Cork)
  • Sarah Rowe (Collingwood / Mayo)
  • Aishling Sheridan (Collingwood / Cavan)
  • Aisling McCarthy (West Coast Eagles / Tipperary)
  • Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Grace Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Áine Tighe (Fremantle / Leitrim)
  • Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne / Mayo)
  • Ailish Considine (Adelaide Crows / Clare)
  • Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions / Tipperary).

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