The Irish Women’s soccer team had a tumultuous start to the year off the field but on the field they are currently seeking qualification to the 2019 World Cup in France. Player Áine O’Gorman is currently fighting to return to the fold as she rehabs a knee injury. Áine has seen women’s soccer dramatically change over her playing career. Like many she initially played alongside her brothers in Enniskerry before a girls teams was developed, as she progressed as a player so did women’s soccer, playing two seasons in England with one of the first Super League professional teams Doncaster Belles. Governing bodies are still playing catch-up with the success and demands of female sports. This was evident when Áine alongside her International teammates had to publicly fight for basic team rights last January. Currently back playing on Irish soil with her club UCD Waves and working as a fitness instructor, Áine took some time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions.
Tell us about your first or favourite sporting memory?
My first personal memory of football is watching my brothers training and the team manager Ger Barton letting me join in. I honestly haven’t looked back since!
Other very special memories are wearing the Irish jersey for the first time with the U15 Ireland Schools Team, my first goal and first senior International cap.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring athlete in your sport?
You must never give up!! Always work hard, practice with the ball everyday and have a good attitude towards learning from your coach and peers.
As a club and International soccer player what advice would you give to someone who was dealing with a tough time in their life or setback in their sport?
I’m currently missing important club and International matches due to a knee injury and it is a really tough time. You must try to remain as positive as possible and believe that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. In sport and life there are inevitable highs and lows but it’s how you react to the tough, low times that will make you the athlete and person you are.
What emphasis do you put on food and diet relating to your performance or do you think food and diet has any importance for your performance?
I think it’s very important for both athletes and everyone to receive good nutritional value from their food. This will allow you to maintain good general health but also fuel your performance and aid recovery.
How do you find the time to plan and prepare meals or do you eat out every day whilst also juggling your fulltime job as a fitness instructor?
I tend to be very organised as food is often on my mind! When I’m grocery shopping, I always think about my schedule for the week ahead. Particularly when my week is very busy, I’ll prepare meals for a couple of days in advance. My snacks don’t vary too much so I always keep a stock of Wyldsson’s nut butters and snack mixes, bananas, berries, corn cakes and Greek yogurt.
I really enjoy going out for food but I only eat out maybe once or twice a week.
Give us some insight into your typical match day food?
A typical kick-off is 2pm so I’ll have porridge with nut butter, Greek yogurt, banana and berries. I usually follow this with scrambled eggs on toast.
When I’m away on International duty, I always have a baked potato with beans and maybe some chicken.
Is there any food that you miss from home whilst travelling overseas for competitions or training?
Currently we are really well looked after when on International duty so there is no particular food that I miss. I think I just miss my own routine and being able to cook whatever food I fancy.
Although, when I do return home I enjoy a big home-cooked roast dinner with loads of gravy.
What is your favourite type of food to eat or dish to cook?
I like a variety of food but my favourite is probably Thai food. When I’m cooking for friends, I often make a Vegetable Pad Thai recipe from The Happy Pear boys with a side of Chicken Satay Skewers from The Body Coach. Both always seems to go down well and have become my signature dishes as my friends often request them for dinner.
What are your favourite places to eat out in Ireland?
This is a really tough decision as I tend to go through favourite food phases. Saba or Siam Thai in Dundrum never let me down though as their curries and pad thai always bring me back.