“A roller coast ride”: Crows Irish Star Ailish Considine reflects on her journey from Ireland to the Adelaide Oval
If you’d told 26-year-old Ailish Considine a year ago that she would be gearing up to run onto the Adelaide Oval in front of 30,000 people for an AFLW preliminary final she would have called you crazy.
However, after a hectic few months, the Irishwoman now finds herself in a position that most Australian’s dream of as her ladder leading Adelaide Crows play host to Geelong on Sunday afternoon.
The occasion doesn’t faze Considine however, describing herself as relatively relaxed heading into the big game.
“The nerves actually aren’t too bad.” She told AFL Europe.
“I’m super excited to have made it this far into the season and it’s been a good lead up to watch, should be a great game this Sunday.”
Coming over to Australia from Ireland at the beginning of the 2019 AFLW season, Ailish says the great game of Australian Rules Football came into her life in November 2017 as she came across a league set up by AFL Ireland.
She would then join the West Clare Waves and participate in a number of different tournaments across Ireland before seeking opportunities to go professional in Australia.
“A few girls came out [to the tournaments] and the game started to grow.” She said.
“It was back home playing in that foundation league where I kind of fell in love with the game as I put my name in for cross coding to see how it goes.”
Through CrossCoders, Considine would be invited to trials in Melbourne as the dream of becoming a professional AFLW player was quickly forming into reality.
A strong performance at the trials would see her quickly impress recruiters, with the Adelaide Crows taking a chance on the raw but talented Irish woman.
“Since then it’s gone so quickly, the process has really been a roller coaster.” Ailish said on her recruitment into the AFLW.
“However, it was by the far the best decision I’ve ever made to sign up for CrossCoders and come over here to play AFLW.”
Finding her way onto the list of 2017 premiers Adelaide, Considine was quickly blown away by the professionalism and bond between the girls.
“It was something special [the relationships between players], I’ve been in a lot of teams and often it’s hard to get players to bond, but everything about the Crows is right, they really care about each other and get along which in turn has resulted in success.
“It’s more like a family than a team, so for me it’s made the whole transition so easy, I really can’t thank the girls enough.”
Along with the players, Ailish credits much of her rapid development to Adelaide Crows AFLW senior coach Matthew Clarke.
“He’s been so good.” Ailish said. “He’s such a different style of coach that I’ve had before and so calm during all situations in training and throughout the games.”
Along with the positivity around the group, Clarke has also put in extra effort to help Considine adapt to the nuances of Australian rules football.
“He always stays back and puts the effort in to help me.”
“Whether it be running through game footage or just running through how each part of the game works, he has always been there to guide me through this process.”
After experiencing first-hand the highs and lows of a move to the AFLW, Considine is keen to see more Irish girls take the plunge and consider a code cross.
“I think the number one thing to remember is to just be patient.”
She said pondering the best advice to give somebody considering making the move. “You just think that everything is going to happen straight away, but you really have to learn and train hard to break into this competition and play your role for the team.”
“Most of all though just enjoy it and give it everything you have.”
As the Crows gear up to have a tilt at their second AFLW premiership, Considine could not be more excited to be a part of something special with this tight knit group of girls.
“There’s not a hope in hell I thought I’d be here, in Australia about to play a foreign game in front of thousands of people.”
“To be actually walking onto the Adelaide Oval with the kit ready to play a preliminary final, it’s just a dream.”
By Zac Standish