Considine cracking the dual code

The dual issue continues to dominate in GAA circles thanks to the efforts of Cork’s Aidan Walsh, Damien Cahalane, Eoin Cadogan and Clare’s Collins brothers, Podge and Seán.

Considine cracking the dual code

Clare hurling manager, Davy Fitzgerald is adamant it cannot be done but his Cork counterpart Jimmy Barry-Murphy — himself one of the greatest dual players of all time admittedly in an era when it was less of a challenge than nowadays — has labelled the “experiment” a success.

In the women’s Gaelic codes, the highest profile dual players have been Leeside too, with Briege Corkery, Rena Buckley and Angela Walsh farming a hatful of All-Ireland medals in the past decade.

Eimear Considine doesn’t have the same profile yet, but the 22-year-old’s name might just have more resonance after this weekend’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior camogie quarter-final, when her Clare side face champions Galway.

She grew up in football country and was down at the Kilmihil pitch almost as soon as she could walk. Camogie didn’t come into focus until her teens and with no local club, Kilmaley became the destination.

County recognition followed quickly in both codes, as it did for her sister Ailish, who is currently rehabbing a cruciate injury. Kilmihil won an All-Ireland junior club title in 2008 and Considine was player of the match when Clare claimed the intermediate All-Ireland the following year.

The camogie team has been making its progress at a higher level, beating Cork to win the Munster title in 2012. This year, they reached a first national senior final when making the League decider but Considine suffered a medial lateral ligament injury to her knee after five minutes and Clare never recovered.

She is fully fit now though and played in the latter part of the group stages, while also lining out for the footballers as they bowed out of the championship with defeats to Kerry and Westmeath. She admits it can be difficult to combine the two but the rewards, which include representing Munster in both codes, outweigh the sacrifices.

“One season I pulled out halfway through was because I couldn’t manage it” says Considine. “It is tough to deal with. The footballers are after losing a lot of girls that were involved in both, now focusing on the camogie. But it can be done.

“In the League there were a lot of clashes so it was just a case of the most important game in the day. So it’s not picking one over the other, it’s just the most important game on the day.

“My favourite sport depends on the year. I’m originally from a football area but this year the camogie team are still in the championship, so the camogie is the most important this year.”

Another issue to contend with is the mental gymnastics required in being a forward in football and defender in camogie. “It’s so different. One day you’re going out and you have a target of getting three points today, and the next day you’re not letting someone get scores. It’s a completely different mindset.”

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