'Donegal will first be my commitments and then I'll head on out then after that'

March 02, 2024

Donegal's Amy Boyle Carr and Dublin's Lauren Magee ©INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

By Daire Walsh

She will be setting off on an exciting adventure later on this year, but for now Amy Boyle-Carr’s focus is firmly set on aiding the cause of Donegal in the 2024 inter-county season. 

Now in her seventh year on the panel, the Glenties woman agreed a deal last December to join Adelaide Crows for their latest AFLW campaign. Having taken notice of the Naomh Conaill club star while previously reviewing footage of her O’Donnell County compatriot Yvonne Bonner — who appeared for the club in 2023 before subsequently announcing her Aussie Rules retirement  — ‘The Crows’ opted to get Boyle-Carr on board as a rookie player. 

However, this year’s AFLW season doesn’t get underway until the last weekend in August and this has freed up Boyle-Carr to remain with Donegal for the duration of their 2024 odyssey. She has already played against Laois, Kildare and Monaghan in Division 2 of the Lidl National Football League and is also expected to line out for the Ulster side in their meeting with provincial rivals Tyrone at Ballybofey tomorrow (throw-in 2pm). 

“It was very important to me. That’s one of the first things that I had said to them, that my commitment was with Donegal. Once that finishes up, I’m all theirs then, but Donegal will first be my commitments and then I’ll head on out then after that,” Boyle-Carr explained. 

“I suppose I’ll do whatever bits I can when I get out there, but for now it will be concentrating on Donegal and then once I get out there then, it will be a change-over to that. It’s something I’ll look forward to come the end of the summer. The All-Ireland final is at the start of August, so you’d be hoping that you’ll be going out after that, all going well with Donegal.” 

Although there has been a defeat to table-toppers Kildare and a recent draw with Monaghan to go alongside victories against Laois and Westmeath, Donegal are still very much in the hunt for a Lidl NFL Division 2 final berth heading into tomorrow’s duel with Tyrone. 

The Red Hands are currently second in the table with 10 points to their name, but the O’Donnell women will join them on double figures should they claim Ulster bragging rights in round five of the competition. 

“We had a difficult game there against Monaghan. We were disappointed coming away from it with only a point. Our goal for the league, it’s to make the league final and get promoted back up to Division One. Tyrone are in second, they’re just ahead of us, but if we can get a result against them, technically it is still in our hands. 

“Tyrone have some very good players there. Maria Canavan, she’s going well. We know that she’ll be a threat at the weekend. You have to take it one game at a time and we know Tyrone will be tough. We’ll look forward to the challenge.” 

Despite only turning 23 in January, Boyle-Carr has been a part of the Donegal senior set-up since 2018. This proved to be a significant year for the county as it saw them reaching the semi-final stage of the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for the first time in their history. 

Having idolised a number of players that were part of the squad during this period, it was a dream come true for Boyle-Carr to be donning the green and gold of Donegal at the highest level of the game. 

“2018 was brilliant. I was only 16, 17 coming into the squad at the time and I looked up to a lot of the girls. Karen [Guthrie] and Yvonne, and the likes of them. For me, even just training away with them, I was delighted. 

“I was in my element because you grew up looking up to these kinds of girls and then when you’re playing alongside them, it’s all you want. That year would have helped a lot and I got a lot of experience from that and training with the girls.” 

Even before featuring in the last-four of the All-Ireland SFC - where Donegal lost out to Cork - 2018 had already proven to be a special year for Boyle-Carr. A gifted underage international soccer player, she made her senior debut for the Republic of Ireland in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Netherlands at Tallaght Stadium on April 10, 2018. 

Despite having trained with the senior squad both at home and abroad, Boyle-Carr admitted she was surprised when she was given the nod to start a crunch showdown with the Dutch in the Dublin venue. This is exemplified by the fact that she had already made plans to attend the game in a mere spectators’ capacity. 

“Me and Mum had bought tickets to go and watch it. I was in Portugal for a camp with the seniors and then I kind of thought I wouldn’t have been in too much after that. Then the tickets had come out and me and Mum had said we would go to it. 

“Obviously I wasn’t sure if I would be in the panel or not, so I weighed it up just in case. Even being in the panel, I never thought I'd be in the match day squad or not alone that, in the starting team!” 

Yet then Ireland boss Colin Bell felt she was ready for a big step up and she played the first half of an eventual 2-0 reversal to the Dutch, before making way for fellow Donegal native Amber Barrett. She may have ultimately placed soccer on the back burner in 2019 (though she did line out for Sligo Rovers in the second half of the 2022 Women's Premier Division), but her solitary appearance for the Republic of Ireland women’s national team remains a highlight. 

In addition to playing alongside star names such as Katie McCabe, Denise O’Sullivan and former Galway footballer Niamh Fahey, Boyle-Carr came face-to-face with a talented Dutch outfit that were overseen by current England women’s manager Sarina Wiegman. 

“The players even on the Dutch team that day were phenomenal. You had Lieke Martens, just before that she was UEFA Women's Player of the Year. It was an amazing experience to get," Boyle-Carr added. 

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