FOLLOWING confirmation at the weekend that she has been awarded a full-time contract with the Irish Rugby 7s side, 23-year-old Kilmihil girl, Eimear Considine, has taken a step closer to participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
An Irish and PE teacher in Glasnevin, Considine has been playing senior football for Clare since she was 16 and has also represented the county senior camogie team for several years.
“You’d never even imagine, that you might be in the Olympics,” she told The Clare Champion this week.
Considine had not played rugby before and, incredibly, she was approached to try out via a message on LinkedIn, which she almost missed completely.
“I have never played rugby. I’d heard of a lot of people who have transferred over to it and I always wanted to try it but I didn’t know how to go about it. I got a message on LinkedIn, which I only joined because we were made do it in college. I happened to update my work experience and I said [on LinkedIn] that I was teaching in Glasnevin, which is near training. I got a message, which I didn’t see for about a month and I thought my chance was gone. I emailed back and said I was definitely interested. The title mentioned Rio 7s and it was that which grabbed my attention. No sports person would turn something like that down. I just said I’d give it a go. It was just me for a while, on my own, with the coach just passing the ball over and back. Bit by bit I got into it and I played with the development squad,” she explained.
Eimear trains minutes away from her school, which is somewhat handier than travelling home to Clare every weekend for football and camogie training or matches.
“It’s just more of a commitment to one thing rather than spreading the commitment between camogie and football. In a way it’s easier because I don’t have to go home as often. The hardest thing about the last few years has been living in Dublin and trying to play football and camogie while I’m away.”
The first tournaments Eimear hopes to be involved in are in France and Russia, while the Olympic qualifiers are due to start in July and continue in September. While now in a professional set-up until at least March 1, 2016, Eimear says she already had good grounding in top-class organisation.
“With DOB [David O’Brien] we had training gear when no one had training gear and we had nutrition plans and psychologists when no one did. That was in my first year with the Clare footballers and DOB was the first person to text me when he heard that I got this contract. Even when I was trying out for it, he was texting me. John Carmody [former camogie manager] texted me as well. People always want you to do well.”
Clare camogie colleague Susan Vaughan is also on the Irish 7s squad, while another camogie team-mate, Naomi Carroll, is an Irish hockey international who also has eyes on Rio.
By Peter O’Connell