One of County Roscommon’s most well-known ladies’ footballers of the modern era has become the first woman from the county to sign a full-time professional contract with an Australian Rules club.
Jenny Higgins has been snapped up by Sydney Swans AFLW for the upcoming season. The well-known Australian Rules club, which formed a women’s team for the first time in the AFLW last season, confirmed the news on Wednesday night (Irish time).
Former Western Gaels player, Higgins, who currently plies her trade with Clann na nGael, has been a mainstay on the county’s flagship ladies’ football team for the last 13 seasons, making over 130 appearances for her county.
She will travel to Australia with her husband and former Roscommon senior footballer, Cathal Shine, for the start of pre-season in June and hopes to be involved in the club’s ten games in the AFLW between September and November.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the Sydney Swans. Opportunities like this have come and gone in the past but now I feel as if it’s the right time to go out there and see how it goes,” she told the Roscommon Herald.
Given her change of direction, Higgins wasn’t in a position to commit to Roscommon this season and will also miss Clann na nGael’s defence of their county title, but she could return to play some part in the Johnstown-based club’s season if Finbar Egan’s side are still involved in championship action in November.
“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I just want to go out there and push myself and be the best I can be,” she vowed.
Executive GM of Football — AFLW, Kate Mahony, confirmed the signing of Higgins alongside Irish duo, Paris McCarthy and Julie O’Sullivan, for the Sydney Swans AFLW.
“We’re extremely excited to welcome Paris, Jennifer and Julie to the Bloods family.
“They are not only outstanding athletes within their respective fields, but have each proven to possess a hard work ethic and strong desire to succeed.
“They have performed at elite levels, and whether that be at basketball or Gaelic football, they each know what it takes to be a professional athlete.
“Those are qualities that can have a profound impact on the rest of the playing group,” she said.
We’ve signed three promising Irish talents in Paris McCarthy, Jennifer Higgins, and Julie O’Sullivan ☘️
📝 READ MORE: https://t.co/k6iOTeLKmR
This news was brought to you by @ELMO_Software, the club’s official list and recruiting partner. pic.twitter.com/htc4AZGZc0
— Sydney Swans AFLW (@SydneySwansAFLW) March 15, 2023