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The Collette Collins interview

Sport

FIELD WORK Mayo ladies selector Colette Collins is pictured during a recent training session.

Lacken native Colette Collins is a key member of the Mayo ladies set-up

Interview
Michael Gallagher

IT’S in the genes. It’s an obsession and she’s the first to admit it.
Colette Collins has been immersed in Mayo football for as long as she can remember. She loves it. It makes her happy. It makes her heart beat faster and it makes every day special.
Last Friday morning the Lacken woman was attacking the day while the rest of the world settled in for their second sleep. Currently a postwoman in Galway, Colette doesn’t do leisurely mornings under the duvet. Instead every day starts well before 6am and regularly finishes in MacHale Park in Castlebar 15 hours later.
Colette may be just 23-years-old but the Sports Science student is highly-regarded in sporting circles. Already a selector and Data Analyst with the Mayo ladies senior footballers, her competitive edge is apparent in everything she does. Nothing is overlooked and preparation is key — as it was when she spoke with The Mayo News.
Numerous messages flew through the ether in the run-up to the chat, tying down time, subjects and possibilities. That smoothed the way for a really enjoyable conversation.
“I’ve been kicking a ball for as long as I can remember. Dad [former Mayo men’s football selector and well-known referee, Charlie Collins) was, and is, heavily involved in the GAA and I’ve loved football all my life. He never pushed me or my older siblings (Catherine and Joseph) into sport. In fact, I’m the only one with a Mayo obsession,” she laughed.
“Mam (Julia) didn’t grow up in a mad sporting household, so she’s not as mad about it as the Collins clan, but she was always very supportive too. Dad is a lovely dad.
“He always encouraged me but never pushed, so I could find my own way and figure out what I enjoyed.”
Colette began competitive sport with the local St Brigid’s Ladies team and found a niche at full-forward. She went down the road to play soccer in Killala and loved that too.
“I love football and always will, but there was a time when I enjoyed soccer more. I played for Mayo teams over the years and loved that. It was fun but as time passed I realised football was my real love,” she explains.
College in Galway was enjoyable and her interest in sports science grew with every passing semester. Her final year project was a study of the impact of the menstrual cycle on sporting performance, something which really intrigued her.
“I’m always thinking about optimum performance and this is such a natural, simple aspect of life which has a major impact on female sportspeople.”
So how did a 23-year-old, preparing to do a Masters, working in Galway, end up as a selector with Michael Moyles and company?
“I was in college in Galway when Covid arrived. All sport stopped for a while. Then, I was invited to try out with Galway United and the first night I went to training I did my ACL.
“I was devastated. I love playing sport. It’s a huge part of my life and suddenly it was gone. I couldn’t even go to watch games, because I wanted to play and and couldn’t bear sitting there with no input.”
That frustration grew but the Lacken woman decided to do something about it.
“We were going on placement from college and there were lots of opportunities with teams in Galway and Roscommon and all over the place, but it was Mayo or nothing for me.
“I knew Michael Moyles from working with him in school, so I rang him and asked if there was anything at all I could do for the Mayo Ladies. I said, I’d do anything, and he was brilliant, invited me straight in and it just went from there.”
Colette is younger than some of the players. Is that a challenge?
“It certainly was at the start,” she admits. “I was nervous going into the camp, but that all faded away immediately. The girls made me so welcome and I immediately felt at home. “There’s a great sense of family, a sense of togetherness in the camp and a great drive to get the best out of ourselves.”
On Saturday, the Mayo ladies travel to Ennis to take on Cork for a place in the All-Ireland semi-final. It’s a big challenge for the Westerners but Collins believes they will be ready.
“Cork are a very fine team, filled with very fine players, but we’ve looked at them and we really believe we can win it. Michael (Moyles), Peadar (Gardiner), Ger (Cafferkey) all the management team and the players have worked hard to be the best we can be and that’s exactly what we’ll be looking to do in Ennis.”
The obsession with Mayo which began before she even remembers has helped the Lacken woman achieve a lot in a very short time. Saturday will be another step on that journey and she can hardly wait.
“The minors in the All Ireland final on Friday; our game on Saturday. It doesn’t get much better than that,” she smiled.

Fixture
All-Ireland Ladies SFC Quarter-Final
Cork v Mayo

Saturday, July 9
Ennis at 3pm

 

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