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Inside the Minds of Mayo sports stars

Sport


Tamara O'Connor
LADIES FOOTBALL

Age: 25
Club: Cill Chomáin
Living: Belmullet
Occupation: Athletic Therapist

What three words would you use to describe your sporting career in 2021?
A roller coaster.

What was your sporting highlight of the last 12 months?
Being nominated for an All-Star award.

What was your biggest sporting disappointment of the last 12 months?
Losing to Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.

What’s your sporting New Year’s resolution?
Do the best I can do and be the best I can be.

Best live sports event you attended in the last 12 months?
An Under-8’s game day down in Belmullet is as good as you’ll get!

Who is your ‘one to watch’ for your sport in 2022?
There’s a lot of young and experienced talent thankfully, but Saoirse Lally and Aoife Geraghty are two fantastic talents coming through the ranks for Mayo.

Who will win the Sam Maguire Cup in 2022?
#mayoforsam22

How do you feel about the World Cup being played in Qatar? 
Can I go?

Three people you’d like to train with?
I’d love to train with Katie Taylor and Peter Stringer on a cold, wet, dirty night in the west of Mayo and it blowing a gale, with Davy Fitz roaring the head off us.
I don’t think they’d be up for that though.

Three things you can’t live without?
My phone, my car and some ‘me’ time.

Favourite social media platform?
Instagram.

Podcast and/or book you’d recommend to us?
The Tommy, Hector and Laurita podcast, makes the journey to training shorter.

Your 2022 motto in five words?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Sarah Quinn
ATHLETICS

Age: 23
Club: St Colman’s/South Mayo AC
Lives: Ballinrobe
Occupation: Student, NUI Galway

What three words would you use to describe your sporting career in 2021?
An unexpected rollercoaster.

What was your sporting highlight of the last 12 months?
Placing second in the 4x200m relay at the World Relay Champs and also being part of the first Irish women’s 4x100m team to qualify for a World Championships.

What was your biggest sporting disappointment of the last 12 months?
Missing out on Tokyo qualification by two places with the women’s 4x100m team at the World Relay Championships.

What’s your sporting New Year’s resolution?
Give this year my all just like every other year.

Who is your ‘one to watch’ for your sport in 2022?
In the athletics world, Rob McDonald and Alex Lee. Both are training partners of mine and definitely ones to watch for the year ahead!

Who will the Sam Maguire in 2022?
There’s only one right answer...

Three people you’d love to train with?
Liz Clay, Sarah Lavin and Derval O’Rourke.

Three things you can’t live without?
Spotify, my car and Avonmore protein milk.

Favourite social media platform?
Definitely Instagram. It’s the best way to keep up with what friends/athletes are doing

Podcast and/or book you’d recommend?
Not sporting related, but the Tommy Hector and Laurita podcast has kept me laughing all the way to training all year!

Your 2022 motto in five words?
Just roll with the punches.

Lee Keegan
FOOTBALL

Age: 32
Club: Westport
Lives: Westport
Occupation: Senior Validation Engineer, STERIS

What three words would you use to describe your sporting career in 2021?
Up and down!

What was your sporting highlight of the last 12 months?
Personally winning a Connacht medal in Croke Park was unique, but to share the pitch with my daughter topped it off. These moments is why I play sport.

What was your biggest sporting disappointment of the last 12 months?
Obviously losing the 2021 All-Ireland was bitterly disappointing after such a successful build-up. As well not pushing on with the club and getting deservedly beaten by Belmullet in the county semi-final.

What’s your sporting New Year’s resolution?
Being a wise old man of my latter years now, enjoy the freedom sport brings and enjoy the moment of it. Sport is fun even through all the bullshit.

Best live sports event you attended in 2021?
Not many to write home about due to Covid. I had pretty central tickets to the Mayo vs Tyrone game!!!

Who is your ‘one to watch’ for your sport in 2022?
Easy one, Sam Callinan from Ballina. Got a flavour of what he is capable of in the club quarter-final as he destroyed us. But he has insane talent which was also seen recently against Galway. Watch out Paddy D and Oisin M.

Who will the Sam Maguire in 2022?
Tough one! Always Mayo.

How do you feel about the World Cup being played in Qatar?
I don’t, prefer the cool breeze from McHale Park.
Will be a strange WC to be honest.

Three people you’d love to train with?
Dustin Johnson (golfer), TJ Watt (NFL) and Philip Keegan (Bro)(mance).

Three things you can’t live without?
Aoife, Líle and Rhea.

Favourite social media platform?
As the wise old man Kev McLoughlin said, I’m not a big social media man but Instagram would be my go-to, certain commitments to maintain. Shame I can’t count the Irish Independent or The Mayo News as one.

Podcast and/or book you’d recommend?
Currently reading “Chimp Paradox”. I’m quite similar to one. Great read so far.

Your 2022 motto in five words?
‘Show your Covid certificate please’
‘There is always a way’ - more of a sporting context.

Becky McLoughlin
RUGBY

Age: 26
Club: Ballina RFC
Living: Ballina
Occupation: Accounts Assistant

What three words would you use to describe your sporting career in 2021?
Challenging, rewarding, positive.

What was your sporting highlight of the last 12 months?
Being victorious on our new all-weather pitch! It was our first home game since the new pitch was completed and we were nervous going out under the lights that night. The feeling after the game was amazing and lifted all of our spirits after the horrendous weather!

What was your biggest sporting disappointment of the last 12 months?
Games and training being cancelled due to Covid. It has been brilliant being able to play again this season.

What’s your sporting New Year’s resolution?
Train hard and enjoy every minute. Over the last two years we have missed so much training and game time, so it has been brilliant to get back doing what we love with our coach and all the girls.

Best live sports event you attended in the last 12 months?
There wasn’t many live sporting events to attend but I loved going to Heffernan Park watching Ballina teams play at home. There is always huge support and a great atmosphere.

Who is your ‘one to watch’ for your sport in 2022?
Eve Higgins. We’re all going to hear more about her.

Who will win the Sam Maguire Cup in 2022?
Mayo obviously!!

How do you feel about the World Cup being played in Qatar?
Looking forward to some entertaining games. That’s what the WC is all about.

Three people you’d like to train with?
Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara and Ciara Griffin. They might come and do a session with us in Balliina.


Three things you can’t live without?
That’s a tough one. I’ll have to go with family, friends and good food!

Favourite social media platform?
Instagram.

Podcast and/or book you’d recommend to us?
The book Good Vibes - Good Life! It’s a great book for focusing on your mindset and working from the inside out.

Your 2022 motto in five words?
Your attitude determines your direction.

Abbiegayle Ronayne
SOCCER

Age: 19
Club: Galway United WFC
Lives: Claremorris
Occupation: Student

What three words would you use to describe your sporting career in 2021?
Opportunity, hard work, and enjoyment.

What was your sporting highlight of the last 12 months?
Playing well and really enjoying my final game with Athlone Town in the 2021 season.

What was your biggest sporting disappointment of the last 12 months?
Getting knocked out in the FAI Cup quarter-final with Athlone Town.

What’s your sporting New Year’s resolution?
To be able to squat my bodyweight in the gym.

Who is your ‘one to watch’ for your sport in 2022?
Shauna Brennan who plays for Galway WFC. Despite being a young player she is instrumental in the Galway squad.

Who will the Sam Maguire in 2022?
The Sam Maguire and the Brendan Martin Cup are both coming to Mayo in 2022!

What team will win the Women’s National League in 2022?
Galway WFC!

Who will be your most difficult opponent in 2022?
Shelbourne FC. Their squad has a good blend of youth and experience.

What is your middle name?
Anuradha. I was named after a brilliant doctor who saved both my own and my Mam’s life in Castlebar hospital.

How do you relax?
By going for a walk with my dog, reading and watching a good movie.

Cathal Freeman
HURLING

Age: 31
Club: Tooreen
Lives: Ballyhaunis
Occupation: Medical student

What 3 words would you use to describe your sporting career in 2021?
Nicky, County, Connacht.

What was your sporting highlight of the last 12 months?
Thankfully there were a few, but winning a Connacht title with Tooreen will always be special.

What was your biggest sporting disappointment of the last 12 months?
Missing out on league promotion with Mayo on the final day vs Kildare.

What’s your sporting New Year’s resolution?
Continue to enjoy every part of it as much as I can, I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Best live sports event you attended in 2021?
Mayo vs Dublin - it gets a lot of slagging, but ‘Mayo Fever’ is real and we’re lucky to have it!

Who is your ‘one to watch’ for your sport in 2022?
Dylan Caulfield - he’s still very young but he has a very bright future if he sticks at it.

Who will the Sam Maguire in 2022?
Heart says Mayo, head says Kerry. Dublin have fallen off — no matter how good their development is, they have lost seven or eight generational talents in the last two years.

How do you feel about the World Cup being played in Qatar?
Soccer at the top level is the plaything of the petro-states, so I’m not surprised.

Three people you’d love to train with?
Jonny Wilkinson, Daniel Ricciardo, Sonny Bill Williams.

Three things you can’t live without?
I’m very easily pleased: computer, coffee, cornflakes.

Favourite social media platform?
It has to be Twitter. While it’s healthy and useful to see reasoned opinions that differ from your own, using the mute button on it this year has been a great help.

Podcast and/or book you’d recommend?
Tommy, Hector & Laurita Podcast. If you are from a West of Ireland or GAA background, it’ll be like you’ve known them all your life.

Your 2022 motto in five words?
Hopefully. Not. A. Student. Anymore.

 

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