More injury woe as another knee setback rules Leitrim star out in Australia once again

LEITRIM STAR ÁINE TIGHE’S cruel run of injuries and extended period on the sidelines is set to continue, with confirmation from her Aussie Rules club that she is “unlikely” to play in 2021.

Fremantle have confirmed that the ruck will be out for an extended period of the 2021 Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] season, after an arthroscopy — or keyhole surgery — last week revealed a significant medial meniscal tear in her left knee.

This comes as the latest injury setback for Tighe, who ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] on the same knee in Freo’s final pre-season fixture last January ahead of her debut season.

As a result, she missed the entire 2020 campaign, but stayed in Australia to rehabilitate.

Just like she did last pre-season, the 28-year-old had been catching the eye upon her return to action this time around and has long been tipped to make a big impact in the Australian league. But the wait now goes on.

Tighe’s torrid injury luck has been constant since 2018, when she tore her ACL for the first time.

Tighe is facing into another season on the sidelines in Oz.

Source: Fremantle Dockers AFLW.

The Kiltubrid star underwent surgery that June and had made a full recovery by the following May, where she impressed at a CrossCoders training camp and signed for Fremantle alongside Louth’s Kate Flood.

While Flood enjoyed a stunning debut season, she is not returning for 2021, and it looks like the Dockers will also be without the services of towering, high-scoring Leitrim forward Tighe.

General manager of football and performance, Joe Brierty, says the recent setback is beyond disappointing.

“We are devastated for Áine after the ACL injury she sustained last year. Everyone was excited about what Áine would have contributed to our 2021 campaign.

“Áine is very resilient and dedicated, which was evident last year when she remained in Australia post-season to use the club’s facilities to ensure she completed the best possible ACL rehabilitation.

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“Unfortunately for Áine and the club, the timing of the injury means it is unlikely that we’ll see her play in 2021.

Steph Cain and Aine Tighe are eyeing off spots in Freo's best 22 as they both return from ACL injuries 💪 #foreverfreo@joshuadawe9 | @9NewsPerth

— Fremantle Dockers AFLW (@freodockersAFLW) January 2, 2021

“The club will continue to support Áine through her rehabilitation and we know that she will do everything to recover as quickly as possible.”

Tighe is one of 14 Irish players on the books of AFLW clubs for the 2021 season, which kicks off on 28 January.

Dublin’s All-Ireland winning trio Sinéad Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy and Lauren Magee were the last to make the journey Down Under, and are currently completing the mandatory two-week hotel quarantine before linking up with their Melbourne side.

All of the others are immersed in pre-season training with their respective clubs.

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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