Asked to descibe the feeling of becoming the first Irish woman, and indeed the first non-Australian, to win an AFLW Premiership medal, Ailish Considine simply said: “unbelievable”.
“It doesn’t even feel like it’s real,” she told the Irish Echo after Sunday’s grand final win over Carlton.
In her first year with the Adelaide Crows, the Clare woman and her team stormed to a 63-18 final win at Adelaide Oval. Considine’s goal in the first quarter put Adelaide into a strong lead that they would not relinquish.
Five Irish women competed with AFLW clubs this year with Yvonne Bonner and Cora Staunton at Greater Western Sydney Giants, Sarah Rowe at Collingwood and Aisling McCarthy, who was nominated by her club Western Bulldogs for the Best First-Year Player Award in the AFLW Players Association Most Valuable Players Awards 2019, making up the Irish contingent.
In the competition’s third year, Considine became the first Irish import to win a Grand Final. Asked how it felt to have made such history, she said: “I probably didn’t overthink it but it obviously was mentioned. I saw it on media and stuff. It was in the back of the mind and I guess I just left it there.
“It’s an amazing achievement and I hope I won’t be the last because there’s so much talent back home.
“I think definitely a few more will make the trip out and give Australian Rules a go. It’s unbelievable but hopefully I’ll be the first of many.”
The 25-year-old had much support from home and her family made the trip to support her on the big day.
“It’s absolutely surreal, the whole weekend was just an absolute whirlwind. My family flew in on Friday night. They were here for the weekend and for the game. It was just an absolutely huge weekend and to come out with the win was just an amazing feeling and it was amazing to have my family there and celebrate with them, for them to be part of it as well. The support from home has been brilliant. My phone has just been hopping.”
She marked the occasion of picking up her medal by doing a little jig for the crowd much like Tadhg Kennelly did when he was Ireland’s first AFL Premiership winner in 2005.
“The girls were like, ‘You have to do something when you get your medal. Make sure it’s something Irish being the first Irish woman to win one.’ I had to follow through, I guess. I didn’t do it very well but at least I did it. I held up my part of the deal.”
The game was straightforward for Adelaide who have been in unstoppable form with a one-point loss to Western Bulldogs in Round 1 their only defeat of the campaign: “We approached it like it was just any other game … concentrate on your own game and try and get a good result.
“We did the same thing yesterday and that’s probably why it went so well for us. In fairness to the girls, they’re a great bunch of girls and they didn’t let the week get to them, the build up or the big game or the big crowd. They’re a privilege to play with. Our coaches and staff really kept us level-headed for the week as well. We were fortunate enough to come out with the right result.”
AFLW clubs only renew contracts annually but Considine knows she would love to back for the next campaign after she returns home to play Gaelic football for her club and county in the summer: “I would love to be back playing here again. I’ll have to wait and see and hopefully I’ll be back next year.”