CLARE DUAL PLAYER Ailish Considine has signed for Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) side Adelaide Crows on a professional rookie contract.
Considine flew to Melbourne last week along with 17 other athletes to take part in the CrossCoders International Rookie Camp.
The Kilmihil native adjusted to her first taste of professional Aussie Rules seamlessly and knew early on that an offer was on the table from 2017 league winners, Adelaide Crows.
“I had a fair idea that it was Adelaide I was going to go to, they had made the offer straight away so as soon as I realised I was definitely going to be playing professional sport for the next five or six months, I couldn’t believe it.”
A former vice-captain of the Clare ladies football intermediate squad, Considine also represented Clare camogie for five years. In more recent times, she tried her hand at AFL on home soil with the West Clare Waves.
Considine’s short stint with the West Clare Waves has served her well as she has adapted to the oval ball very quickly, something Adelaide Crows were quick to spot.
“They are very happy with me skill wise, the kicking and stuff, that was one of the reasons they made an offer so soon,” she said.
“I played two or three tournaments with the West Clare Waves AFL club. It was only a nine-a-side game so it was very different to an actual full size game but still, getting a little bit of a touch of the oval ball was a bit of an advantage to have.”
Considine will follow in the footsteps of ladies football great Cora Stauton who lined out for Great Western Sydney Giants last season and will again do so in 2019, and Mayo’s Sarah Rowe who recently agreed a deal with Women’s AFL side Collingwood.
Since Staunton’s record-breaking move to the AFLW last November, the door has been well and truly blown open for other ladies footballers to weigh up a move.
In action for Clare in 2016.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Scouts have been actively trying to lure ladies footballers to the Australian league and seven of the current CrossCoders on trial in Melbourne are inter-county footballers. Considine believes the recent signings of herself, Staunton and Rowe is only the beginning of such moves.
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“The standard of ladies footballers will open the AFL wide open because the talent pool isn’t there standard wise in Australia yet. We (ladies footballers) are ready made athletes, all we need is fine tuning on the basics of the skills and the basics of the game play. Other than that, fitness, speed, agility, coordination, gameplay, movement we have all that already.”
“The ladies footballers have blown it out of the water to be honest. It was actually scary watching how good the girls were on their first time playing, it was just mad.
“We played a team of potential draft players in a friendly game, girls who have been playing Aussie Rules for some time and after just three days playing Aussie Rules, we beat them on a massive score line.
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“It’s going to be huge and I think there is going to be a couple more signings yet.”
Although confident that she has the skill set to adapt to the game, Considine is aware of the challenge ahead.
We have secured our first international women’s player 🇮🇪 Welcome @Duckyc7 https://t.co/L4FxsySsTt #weflyasone pic.twitter.com/N4Gb4uLDjT
— Adelaide Crows (@Adelaide_FC) September 27, 2018
“It is a different game and it will take time. That will probably be the biggest challenge for me as a player is to actually learn the gameplay, learn the movement, learn the patterns.
“I know it’s not going to be plain sailing. I’ll have a lot to learn tactically but that’s something I’m really excited for.”
Considine will make the move to Australia in mid-November.
In all, she will spend five months in Australia but aims to be back in Ireland to line out for Clare in the 2019 championship.
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