Tuesday 24 October 2017

All-Ireland winner Considine eager to prove she belongs at rugby's highest level

Ireland's Eimear Considine. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ireland's Eimear Considine. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

St Patrick's Day will be particularly special this year for the small village of Kilmihil in West Clare as five of their own are in line to play in the 'Big Smoke' in two crucial games, in different sports.

On one hand, Eimear Considine will hope to continue her rapid rise with Ireland when they host England in Donnybrook, while across the city, four players from the village will line out at Croke Park for Ballyea in the All-Ireland club hurling final.

Considine, however, has already had her day in Croke Park and it is a place that holds happy memories as she scored 1-1 in Clare's 2009 All-Ireland intermediate final win over Fermanagh. She is focused now on building on her first cap that she won against Scotland last week which amazingly was only the fourth time she played a game of 15-a-side rugby.

It has been a remarkable rise for someone who only took up rugby a couple of years ago but Considine has taken it all in her stride, even if some of her family tried to tempt her back to GAA.

"At home, rugby is non-existent. Football is like a religion, there's nothing else to do so you're really focused on football and camogie," she says.

"While the Sevens was good, I think my mam always wanted me to go back and play for Clare when they were in the All-Ireland last year. My sister (Ailish) was playing."

Considine impressed in the full-time Sevens programme but not before she overcame a few early hurdles in her learning of an unfamiliar sport.

"I'd watch rugby but it was only when I started playing that I realised that I hadn't a clue what I'd been watching," she laughs.

"When we went to San Diego in my very first tournament, I gave away a penalty. I was right up in her face and they were like 'You have to get back 10!'

"I remember I went to my first Munster training in November and they put me on the wing and they said 'You know there are two wings?' I literally started from scratch and had to adjust myself."

Considine is adjusting well now though and is eager to make her mark in rugby, in the same way she did with ladies football.

Irish Independent

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