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Mary Fowler's Irish Links Explained: Matildas Star Whose Father Comes From Dublin

Mary Fowler's Irish Links Explained: Matildas Star Whose Father Comes From Dublin
Kim Morrissey
By Kim Morrissey
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20-year-old Australian sensation Mary Fowler will star for Australia at the 2023 World Cup, but she could have played for Ireland. The Manchester City player admitted that she was tempted to declare for Ireland but will now be facing them instead in their Women's World Cup opener on Thursday.

At just 20, the attacking player has accomplished plenty in her career. To much surprise, this won't be Fowler's first World Cup. She was the youngest player at just 16 years old to feature in the 2019 World Cup in France.

She also has conquered two of the most dominant women's leagues in Europe, having played for French side Montpellier before moving to Manchester City in 2022.

Australian ace and sharpshooter Sam Kerr described Fowler as unbelievable. The lethal pair is sure to be a problem for Ireland's defence in their opening game.

Fowler is set to shine for the Matildas at this year's World Cup but you cant stop and think what could have been had Vera Pauw managed to persuade the Australian-born player to play for her father's native country.

Mary Fowler on almost playing for Ireland

Speaking in an interview with FIFA a few weeks out from the World Cup, Fowler admitted she contemplated switching her allegiance to Ireland.

I think when you have the option to play for multiple nations, you do think about it because it's a decision that will live with you for the rest of your career.

It’s smart, I think, to weigh up your options. So, yeah, there were moments when I thought about it. But I felt very strongly connected to Australia because it's where I was born, I have my friends there, I grew up there. So Australia ended up being the obvious choice. But I do feel very connected to both my parents' backgrounds, and I don’t see myself as just an Australian. I see myself as Papuan and Irish too.

Mary Fowler's Irish links

Fowler was born in Cairns, Australia to an Irish father, Kevin Fowler and Papa New Guinean mother. Although not being born in Ireland her connection to the country is still very strong.


Her grandfather Kevin Fowler still lives in Dublin and living in Manchester has allowed Fowler to find time in her busy schedule to visit her Grandad in Ballymun.


It’s just made it so much easier to visit my grandad because I can now go over there and come back the same day. It’s nice to be so close now, to have that easy connection to my heritage and a side of my family that it had been quite hard to see in person.

Mary Fowler

21 September 2021; Mary Fowler of Australia is greeted by her grandfather Kevin Fowler, from Ballymun, Dublin, following the women's international friendly match between the Republic of Ireland and Australia at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Mary Fowler's Connection to the FAI

Both of Fowler's siblings Caoimhín and Ciara have played underage for the Irish national team. The FAI attempted to lure the young sensation into playing for the Irish WNT but failed due to Australia's persistence in making her their own.

Once Fowler joined the Australian set-up, the Matilda's were rapid in making sure she stuck with them. She earned her first senior national team cap when she was just 15 years old.

Since her debut she has made herself a key player in the squad. She had already appeared in three major tournaments for the Matildas, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2020 Olympic Games, and the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.


Thoughts on Playing Ireland in the World Cup

Fowler with Australia will go up against Ireland in an 83,000-sold-out Accor Stadium in Sydney on July 20th. Before the groups were made, Fowler was hoping she would get a shot against her dad's home side.

I was really excited when that draw came out. I was actually hoping we’d get Ireland''.

For me, it's such a special opportunity because I do feel very connected to my Irish heritage, just as I do to my Papuan heritage. I know my family will be cheering for me and that my Irish family will be cheering for Ireland and me! Whoever wins, they’ll be happy. But, yeah, I think it's going to be a really exciting opening game, a great, fun atmosphere, and from what I hear the ticket sales for it have gone wild."

See Also: Ireland v Australia At The Women's World Cup: Team News, TV Info, Kickoff Time

Ireland v Australia At The Women's World Cup: Team News, TV Info, Kickoff Time





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