“There are some really good young girls coming through.”
Ireland’s Eimear Considine has her sights set firmly on helping her country to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup after a Six Nations campaign that built confidence within the squad.
Adam Griggs’ side secured a third-place finish in this year’s Six Nations as they defeated Italy 25-5 on the final day of the championship, their second win out of three matches this year.
They did suffer a heavy loss to France in their second game of the tournament. But Considine, who was speaking at the launch of Aviva Ireland’s #LaceUpWithPride campaign, is happy that their performances have put them in a strong position ahead of September’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
“We’re happy with where we are considering the lack of game time and we did learn loads in those three games. It put us into a really good position going into those qualifiers,” Considine said.
“It gave us a bit of confidence, we used different combinations and different players worked together. There are some really good young girls coming through and a lot were getting their first caps as well.
“So, it’s a positive that there’s a mix of youth and experience in the team but we still need to get those performances. The French game wasn’t what we wanted but we still learned loads from it and we rectified that in terms of our set-piece and defensive structures against Italy.
“Every day you go out there and you learn something and I’m really excited for the games in September.”
Eimear Considine’s thoughts on turning professional.
Ireland have struggled to compete with England and France in recent years, as the two sides are comprised of professional and semi-professional players, while Considine and her teammates are amateur athletes.
The establishment of a fully professional Ireland women’s team would certainly improve their performances on the world stage. But Considine has no desire to turn professional herself at this stage in her career, even if the opportunity were to present itself.
Considine’s sister Ailish is a professional Aussie Rules footballer with the Adelaide Football Club in the AFLW, and while Eimear can see the benefits of being a professional athlete she appreciates her amateur status.
“Her life is a fairy tale, to be honest. She’s lucky that is her career. My career is different – I’m a teacher and I love that and I think I like the balance between the two. It can consume you sometimes if you don’t have that balance,” Considine explained.
“I’m lucky that I can walk away from a bad game on a Sunday and come back into work and be brought back down to reality on a Monday.
“I like that balance and it keeps me going I think because otherwise, the Six Nations is consuming. When you’re in rugby it’s very much ‘You’re on, you’re in there.’
“It’s nice to switch off and go back to the normal Miss Considine on a Monday. So I like the balance personally and I think I’m at a stage in my career when I’m nearing the end. If I was 21 and starting all over again – 100 per cent. But I’m not 21 unfortunately.”
Considine’s future plans.
Next year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand is the main target for Considine at the moment, but beyond that, the Clare native is unsure of what the future holds for her.
Considine first played rugby at the age of 22, after playing Gaelic football and camogie for Clare since she was 16 years old.
While the 30-year-old believes she is currently fitter and stronger than ever, she does not envisage playing in another World Cup after next year’s tournament in New Zealand.
“I haven’t decided [when to retire]. I just know that I’m 30 at the moment and the next World Cup is another five years away so that’s 35 and I’ve played sport at a high level since 16 years of age with Clare. It’s a lot of my life that I’ve given to it,” Considine said.
“Whenever I decide to finish I’ll be content that I’ve done a lot of stuff that I could never have imagined to do. I’ll definitely play the World Cup and play in a Six Nations and I suppose you just have to see how your body is and see how good you are.
“I don’t think I ever saw myself still seeing sport at 30 but my body is still fit and able. I’ve never been as fit or as strong as I am right now. I suppose you just have to judge it yourself and judge your performances.
“You can’t tell the future. I’ve been lucky to be relatively injury-free up until this stage but that could change in the blink of an eye. With rugby, if this year has taught me anything it’s that you never know when your last game is.
“But personally, I don’t plan on this being near the end of my career. I am 30 but the World Cup in New Zealand is my aim and I think the next World Cup is very far out of my reach, to be honest.”