Ailish Considine says interest increasing in playing down under

While the notion that elite sportspeople might be attracted to playing professionally is lost to many on these shores, the facts speak for themselves and Ailish Considine is predicting more interested among ladies footballers in participating in the AFLW next season.

Considine is one of five Irish players involved in the upcoming campaign after the Clare dual star was recruited by Adelaide Crows, with Mayo duo Cora Staunton (GWS) and Sarah Rowe (Collingwood), Donegal’s Yvonne Bonner (GWS) and Tipp’s Aisling McCarthy (Western Bulldogs).

While ex-Cavan player, Laura Duryea (née Corrigan) was the first Irish representative to compete in the nascent League, after signing for Melbourne, she was a permanent resident with plenty of Aussie rules experience by that juncture.

Staunton was the first to be recruited while still playing ladies football and created such an impression that clubs inevitably looked to Ireland for more potential, aided by the CrossCoders programme.

And Considine suggests that interest in making the transition is considerable.

"The chance of being a professional athlete was a huge draw for me" Considine said. "Once that came around, it was Australian football all the way."

"When (Staunton) signed here it really opened the Irish girls' eyes, that maybe we could try it out because (the two codes) require a pretty similar skill-set.

Once she did pretty well in her first season, people were saying it was a game we could transfer to. The interest is bigger in the CrossCoders programme for next year.

Among those that could join her is her older sister Eimear, herself a former dual county player, high jumper and pentathlete before making a different transition to play rugby for Ireland, though her focus is sure to centre on that oval ball rather than the Sherrin for the immediate future at least.

"We are competitive, but it's never in a bad way. It's always in the best way possible.She only took up rugby in the last three or four years and she's doing really well, so she'll stick at that for a while. She might join me here if I stay. We'll see."

Like all the Irish players, Considine is working hard to brush up on her skills and understanding of the game but at least she is not starting from the bottom rung of the ladder.

The 26-year-old played for AFL Ireland's West Clare Waves and the Ireland Banshees, winning the Euro Cup in the green singlet last October, but is doing extra video study sessions twice a week and additional kicking practice to be more consistent.

The hardest thing is getting used to the ball. The kicking requires a very different style.

"When I do an around-the-corner kick, it goes in a very different direction to when I do it with the oval ball. Even though the mechanics are generally the same, it takes a while to get it consistently right."

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