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Cork Had 'Concerns' With Erika O'Shea AFLW Move

Cork Had 'Concerns' With Erika O'Shea AFLW Move
By PJ Browne Updated

Shane Ronayne says the Cork ladies football management team did not stand in Erika O'Shea's way when told she'd be moving Down Under to play in the AFLW with North Melbourne. The teenager was one of the Cork panel's most exciting young talents.

"Our only concerns with Erika were her education," the Cork manager said this week at the launch of the TG4 Ladies Football Championship.

"She has started her first year of College. The lifestyle... she's very young, she's only 19. Everyone else over there has a degree behind them, apart from Orla O'Dwyer. Orla is an Australian citizen so that helped her, she's able to do a course over there.

"We were concerned that way from a lifestyle point of view, from an education point of view. From a football point of view we parked that straight away. We don't own Erika.

"She's fantastic, and she's a good character as well. She's a huge loss but we've just had to park it.

"When she made her decision, she rang me on a Thursday. We'd been talking a long time about a Thursday at the start of May. We were meant to be playing Mayo in a challenge game, but we said, 'Look, there's no real point in you playing because you're not going to be there.' She accepted that and we left it at that."

19 February 2022; Erika O'Shea of Cork in action against Jennifer Dunne of Dublin during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 match between Dublin and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Last week, it was announced that AFLW contracts will become far more lucrative from this season on with salaries increasing 94 per cent across the board.

"The new contracts that came out last week, they're big," said Ronayne.

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Erika will only be on a Tier 4 one, which is $40,000. It is an expensive [city] to live in. You do have concerns for that. But if you can get up to the higher tiers... some of the girls are on higher ones, the Tier 1 ones. But there's only a certain amount of Tier 1s you can have at every club.

It's exciting for them, they get to live a professional life. It's a brilliant opportunity for them, and hopefully things will work out for her because she's a great talent. I've said to her that the door is open for whenever she wants to come home. Hopefully things will go right for her.

We'd be disappointed because we're trying to progress things with Cork and get back onto the winner's podium again. We would love to have Erika do that.

When the Dublin girls went over they had their All-Irelands won. That's a bit of a disappointment that we don't have Erika to try and push on for ourselves. We don't begrudge her.

Ronayne - a Cork native who managed Mourneabbey to two All-Ireland club titles - took over as manager in September. He left the Waterford men's team after just a year to do so.

"I had no intention of leaving Waterford and was down at the county final, the delayed one, in September," he explained.

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"I didn't know what the situation was with Cork. Obviously I've always had my eye on it, it's something I've wanted to do.

"So when the job became available I was encouraged by a lot of players to go for it. It was too good an opportunity to turn down.

"There was a tinge of sadness leaving Waterford as well. My dad is from Waterford and he was delighted when I got that job.

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"When I rang him to tell him I was going to get the Cork job he was delighted because he knew that was what I always really wanted to do.

"I enjoyed the year in Waterford. It was a short time. If the Cork job hadn't come along I'd still be there."

See Also: Massive Frustration In Ladies Football Over Rule 'Spoiling The Game'

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