In September 2018, Clare dual-star Ailish Considine took a flight to Melbourne to take part in the CrossCoders International Rookie Camp.
It was a journey that would ultimately lead to her becoming a professional athlete, as she was snapped up by AFLW side Adelaide Crows for the 2019 season.
But the 26 year old Kilmihil native’s journey to elite-level competitive action began long before boarding that airplane Down Under.
Back in 2001, the Clare ladies football team won their first ever Munster title – and it’s a triumph that proved very influential on Considine’s sporting ambitions.
At that time, Waterford were the dominant force in senior football – having claimed nine Munster titles between 1990 and 2000, and five All Ireland titles within that same time-frame.
Clare had never claimed the provincial honours, beaten at the brink by the Déise women on four previous occasions.
A young Ailish, nine years old at the time, was a devoted supporter of her county team, as was big sister Eimear, who currently plies her sporting trade on the wing with the Irish rugby team.
“Myself and my sister would’ve followed them all the way, because our cousins were playing with the team at the time, so our mam and our aunt would’ve been travelling to the games,” Considine told RTÉ Sport.
“We used to try and get into the field and be their mascots; and send in our autograph books and our jerseys and try to get them signed by all the players.”
Along with her cousins on the panel – Maria, Niamh and Orla Keane – Ailish was not short on idols within the ranks of The Banner County.
“We were in absolute awe of all the girls – the likes of Majella Griffin, Eithne Morrissey, Tammy Hehir – just great players that we really looked up to. That’s where I wanted to be when I was older, when I grew up – I wanted to be playing for Clare as well, and wanted to be winning trophies like they did.
“Once they actually won that Munster final in 2001, we saw how good they could be – and how good a Clare team could be – and the fact that no other team had ever done it before in the women’s side, it was a huge deal, and really inspiring to see.”
Ailish carried that inspiration onwards with her, from playing at primary school level for Clare, to going on to represent her county in both football and camogie.
“That Munster final was the moment for me – it shaped my ambitions to play for Clare and be like the great players that were there before me. I was lucky enough to be able to fulfill that dream, which has been amazing.
“Even though I’m halfway around the world playing a different sport, it’s still always a huge part of me – and Clare football will always have a place in my heart, because it’s always something I wanted to do. Representing your county at that level is something special.”