HISTORY OF THE SHAMROCKS
Oh Rock on Shamrocks we’ll never fall, we’ll surely beat them all
With the skill and flair of every player, that answers Shamrocks’ call
May the pride always stay in your heart
AND THE PASSION IN YOUR EYES!!
We’ll do our best, to beat the rest, and party on all night!
(To the tune of Rock on Rockall by the Wolfe Tones)
<<Insert Shamrocks 2020 video>>
The Shammies’ story
The UTS pioneers… (2001-2006)
UTS first fielded a women’s AFL team in the Sydney Womens AFL (SWAFL) competition in 2001. Training alongside the men at Trumper Park and sponsored by the Cornstalk Bookshop in Glebe, the women played competitively for five years before folding in 2006. From 2010 there were several attempts to get the team up and running again, with informal training sessions held during the 2010 and 2012 pre-seasons out of the Kuring-gai Campus, unfortunately there were not enough players at the time to re-enter a team into the SWAFL competition.
How the Shamrocks began… (2008-2011)
Born out of respect for the silky skills that that gaelic game brings, as well as a fair mixture of encouraging, begging, forcing, pressuring, and pestering players to cross-codes to AFL, the Bondi Shamrocks came into being.
The brilliant pestering techniques of the first Shamrocks, meant many more players than originally counted on, which led to the crazy idea of having a full team of Irish expats to take on the Aussies at their game.
Many of these girls their first taste of the full contact sport when they played in the compromise rules match in October 2008 against a SWAFL select side. The luck of the Irish was evident that day, and they ran out eventual winners in the “Irish-Australian” cup match 149-14. While the series was planned to be an annual event, the girls couldn’t wait for the once a year match, and so, decided to have a go at the oval ball game.
Fun and learning were the key priorities for the team in 2009, as well as getting to grips with the culture and traditions that Australia and this game has to offer. Based in ‘County Bondi’, the team booked in for that almost expected experience of learning how to stand up on a flat board and ride a wave. Yep, surfing in the warm blue ocean amongst and then sampling the natural bush surrounds, handfeeding wild kangaroos and possums, and of course barbeques and beers were the order of the day for the first Shamrocks. Whilst not compulsory, some may already have been experts at the drinking part.
As if being Irish and playing AFL wasn’t crazy enough, the Inaugural ‘Bondi Shamrocks” were coached by New Zealander Lisa ‘Kiwi’ Roper, who managed to pass on all the good Aussie traditions she had experienced in the game, like the banner run through, the guernsey presentation, the man of the match toast, and the importance of a team song.
2009 Shamrock Inaugural Team (photo credit – thank you to the unknown photographer)
2009 Inaugural Season (photo credit – thank you to the unknown photographer)
Inaugural team signed Jersey, 2009 (photo credit – Sandra Ryan)
Towards the end of 2011, the UTS Womens’ Football Club was approached by the Bondi Shamrocks to form a merger. This was supported by both the UTS Sports Union and the UTS Bats. Since then the alliance between the Bats and the Shamrocks has been strong, and integrated completely by 2016.
The Shamrocks would like to thank past sponsors The City of Sydney RSL Club, Bee Active Personal Training and The Olympic Hotel for playing an integral role in securing our future.
2012 Guernsey Presentation Night, April 2012 (photo credit – Caolan Cullinane)
AFL Multicultural Round. Cheers to the Auburn Tigers for a great game, July 2013 (photo credit – Antoinette Moliterno)
The Premiership and Prems Division…(2016-2017)
The 2016 season will live on in Shamrock memories for years to come. Playing in AFL Sydney’s Division 1 Women’s competition, coached by Melissa ‘Chompy’ Khoury and captained by Canadian import Lara Hilmi, the Shamrocks were undefeated all season. Beating the also undefeated to that point Wollongong Saints in the final round, the Shamrocks became Minor Premiers, providing them a strong start to the Finals series. In a strange turn of events the Shamrocks then played Wollongong again in the Semi Final, making it to the Grand Final, to play Wollongong a final time.
In a heart stopping match which initially ended in a draw, the Shamrocks won the 2016 Division 1 Womens’ Premiership in time on against Wollongong, with the Bats in attendance cheering and singing them on from the sidelines. The final scoreline was 5.5.35 to 3.2.20
After being the dominating Division 1 team in 2016, the girls were proud to be elevated to the Women’s Premier Division in 2017.
Division 1 Premiers 2016 – Go Shammies!!! (photo credit – thank you to the unknown photographer!!)
AFL 9s Champions, June 2017 (photo credit – Daisy Yuan)
Then one became two…(2018 and beyond)
With strong growth in the numbers of women’s players riding off the back of the inaugural AFLW season, the Shamrocks realised that we needed to expand, and thus in 2018 entered a second Shamrocks team. With the Shamrocks “Ressies” reaching the Div 3 finals in their second season, the team continues to grow and is excited about the years ahead.
The Shammies today
The Shamrocks today are proud of our cross-code and international heritage which has developed into an inclusive club welcoming to all, no matter a player’s background, orientation, skill level, or homeland.
While we strive to be fast, strong and skilful on the field, we also take pride in being fair and celebrating each player’s achievements no matter how big or small – whether it is kicking a perfect drop punt for the first time, or being recognised at the highest levels.