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Tuesday, June 18 2019 @ 03:03 am ACST

A dream turned reality for Gaelic star Considine


Gaelic star Ailish Considine’s dream of playing in the AFLW has truly become a reality.

Considine signed with the Adelaide Crows as a rookie and as the club's first International women’s player at the end of 2018.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling to be honest. Being able to be a part of history in such a great club is special,” Considine said.

“Still don’t have words to describe it. When I signed the contract I didn’t even read it I was so excited! It didn’t feel like real life! Probably one of the best days of my life so far, it’s a dream come true. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”

Image Source: Adelaide Football Club

Considine is 26 years old and has played Gaelic Football for 20 years since she was six years old. “I’ve been playing at the highest level for my county (Clare) since I was in primary school,” Considine said.

When it comes to the significance of her signing for women’s footy in Ireland and internationally Considine feels it has brought greater publicity to the game back home. Especially with five Irishwomen currently playing AFLW.

Considine says "the interest has grown significantly and I think a few more International girls will be looking to play the sport with the news of four new teams for next year", so this will be huge for women's football with the game growing signficantly in Ireland. 

Cora Staunton and Laura Duryea are both big names back in Ireland after playing in previous AFLW seasons and are an inspiration to the amateur Ladies Gaelic Footballers like Considine who want to play professional sport. “It made the dream of being a professional athlete become a possibility for us amateur Ladies Gaelic Footballers," Considine said. "Seeing what they’ve achieved playing AFLW has generated huge interest in Ireland. There is now a much greater following back home in Ireland because of them.”

Considine has one sister and when children they both played many sports including Camogie (a women's Irish stick and ball sport similar to hurling). Camogie is a popular sport in the Irish communities.

“My sister and I played many sports as children and a hurley and sliothar (ball) just happened to be one of the pieces of equipment we had at out disposal," she said. "My mother played it in her younger days and encouraged us to play. We were lucky our principal in our primary school in Kilmihil taught hurling to us after school and when I was 12 we joined Kilmaley Camogie Club."

The Camogie skills that Considine thinks she can use in the AFLW include the ground ball technique and reaction time. “I think the ground ball technique is something I’ve picked up from Camogie because the ball ends up in contests a lot and you have to use your hips and body as well as getting down low to get the ball ahead of your opponent,” Considine said. “Camogie is also great for increasing your reaction time because the ball is so small and comes at you so quick so that has been helpful when having to adjust to the bounce of the oval ball.”

Considine was involved in the AFL Cross Coders program last year and this is where she learnt a lot about the game of Australian Rules. “How transferable the game of Gaelic Football is to Australian Rules game. There’s a very similar skill set and the level we play at in Ireland is not far off the pace over here in Australia," Considine said. "I think kicking laterally, switching the play, running with the ball and moving it quickly are natural instincts with Gaelic Football so hopefully they can transfer well to the AFLW.”

Considine recently played in the Northern Territory to get some match time under her belt ahead of the AFLW. “It was a great learning experience for me because I got a great knowledge of the rules and how the game flows," Considine said.

"The humidity was difficult at first but I eventually began to adapt although I’ve never experienced that much sweat in my life! Playing with West Clare Waves (Australian football team in Ireland) has definitely helped introduce me to the game in difficult conditions at home in Ireland with the wet, cold and muddy conditions of winter football. Playing in Darwin was another step up and challenge but in a different way.”

 Image Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The leadership skills that Considine feels she can add, as a player to the Adelaide Crows AFLW team is her diversity and different skill sets.

For Considine the biggest changes from Gaelic Football to the AFLW so far have been to adapt to the oval ball, changing her kicking and tackling techniques.

Considine has only called the Crows home since November last year but in this short time she has learnt so much. “Everything is new so I feel like a sponge trying to take in all the new information! Between learning about the game, getting to know my teammates and finding my way around Adelaide it’s been a lot to take in but has been very enjoyable," Considine said. "Something that I have learned since being here and that has really stuck with me is that Adelaide Crows is not just a football team, it’s more like a family in the way that everyone gets around each other. That’s a nice feeling for someone like me who is thousands of miles away from my own family back in Ireland.”

The whole Crows playing group, staff and coaches have welcomed Considine with open arms. Considine says "everyone has helped so much in their own way but Chelsea, MJ and Sal Riley have been my go to people and have been so good to me since I’ve moved over here on and off the training field.”

Considine is excited ahead of her first season at the Adelaide Crows. “I’m looking forward to seeing the progression of this group throughout the season," Considine said. "They’re a special bunch of girls and I can’t wait to see how well we compete and hopefully getting to put on that guernsey for the first time!”

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