Dublin forward, Nicole Owens plays her club football with St Sylvester’s in Malahide, she is a self-declared tom boy who loves sport.
Earlier this month in the TG4 Leinster Senior final versus Westmeath the TCD student had one of her best performances in a Dublin jersey, scoring 6 points from play.Her display at number 11 was duly rewarded as Owens went on to lift the TG4 Player of the Match award.
Next month, Dublin will face either Galway or Donegal in the TG4 All- Ireland quarter final. So as the Dub’s once more head into the business end of the championship in search of the holy grail that is the Brendan Martin cup, we put a couple of questions to Nicole, here is what she had to say ….
Q: How Did You Come To Play Gaelic Football?
Nicole: One of the local GAA coaches, Peanar, came into my primary school when I was about 5 and took a PE class or two. I loved football from the very start much to the surprise of my parents. So I ended up playing with the boy’s team in Syls until I was about 12.
Q: Who Has Influenced You The Most During Your Inter County Career?
Nicole: I’ve been lucky enough to have had great coaches/managers/mentors throughout my career but to be honest it would be some of my fellow teammates who would have influenced me the most.
Sinead Goldrick would be someone who I would look up to the most in terms of being an unbelievable teammate both on and off the pitch.
Goldrick is someone who puts her body on the line for the team every time she pops on a blue jersey. She is essentially the embodiment of a ‘never giving up’ mentality. Marking her every week in training has without a doubt made me a better player.
Q: What Has Been The Best And The Worst Moments Of Your Sporting Career So Far?
Nicole: The best was winning the Giles Cup with the Trinity team in my final year of college. I was away in second year and missed the Lynch cup victory. To win an All-Ireland with that group of girls along with our manager Davey Burke was so special.
The worst was walking back into the dressing room after losing the second All Ireland final in a row to Cork last year.
Q: Who Was Your Sports Hero Growing Up?
Nicole: Both David Beckham and Sonia O’Sullivan would have been my sporting heroes growing up.
Q: Tell Us About Your Senior Debut For Dublin.
Nicole: Peter Clark who was the Dublin manager back in 2012 gave me a great opportunity to join the senior team as I had just come out of Minor.
My debut was in the league against Cork. I can’t remember much to be honest, apart from being absolutely terrified when the ball came anywhere near me.
Q: Who Was Or Has Been The Toughest Opponent You Have Faced?
Nicole: Apart from several Dublin players in club matches it would have to be Grainne McNally from Monaghan, she is very fast and tough and doesn’t give you any time on the ball.
Q: What Sporting Event In The World Would You Love To Attend?
Nicole: The 100 metre sprint final in the Olympics – women’s and men’s.
Q: Which Sports Do You Like Watching Apart From Gaelic Games?
Nicole: Pretty much everything to be honest I would watch soccer, athletics, basketball, a bit of American football. I love a bit of curling during the Winter Olympics!
Q: With Everyone’s Attention Now Turning To The Serious End And Knockout Stages Of The Championship, What Is Your Training Schedule Like?
Nicole: We would train Tuesday, Friday and Sunday’s, so there hasn’t been much of a change in our training schedule except that the week of a game training wouldn’t be as tough and we lose a gym session. Most of the hard work in terms of fitness and gym work is done prior to championship.
Q: If You Could Change One Rule In Ladies Football What Would It Be?
Nicole: The “no contact” rule. We should be able to shoulder and use our bodies/strength the same as the men.
Q: If There Was A Transfer Market In Ladies Football Which Player Would You Like To Sign Up And Why?
Nicole: Caitriona Smith from Cavan because she is the most unbelievably tenacious forward I’ve ever played with and she buys herself a good few frees every game!
Q: Do You Think Enough Is Being Done To Promote Women In Sport?
Nicole: I think there’s a huge amount being done to promote female sport in general. The WGPA and LGFA have done a brilliant job in getting partnerships and sponsorships which provide financial support to players and counties but also increase exposure and awareness about ladies football and camogie in Ireland.
There is huge growth in the number of girls starting to play Gaelic and camogie which is brilliant and hopefully this generation along with the next generation of female footballers will get the opportunity to play on the best pitches and stadiums and have the level of support that the men take for granted.
Dublin will play Galway or Donegal in the TG4 All Ireland senior championship quarter final on August 13th, venue / time to be confirmed shortly by the LGFA office (Croke Park).
Image Credit: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan