All the signifiers of the day of big finals are here, all so familiar and still stressful. The stiff, aching muscles, the soreness in all my body from the previous two days tournament. The tight shoulders after a restless night’s sleep. I wish I’d slept more but I can’t change that now. The feeling of anxiety in my stomach. A quiet breakfast, nodding to people, nervous joking among some of the players. I keep my head down in my muesli, in my thoughts.
A lot goes back for me to the Senior Mixed Final in 2016. The start of the bad times. Continue reading →
I felt like a different player from yesterday. I didn’t sleep very well at all. The adrenaline was flowing though my body all night in wave after wave. I couldn’t stop visualising attack moves and moments from the games in my head. Then I felt great today when I got up, even though I’m not sure how much I slept at all. I’d plenty of energy. Getting ready for the games, unlike yesterday, I wasn’t afraid that I was going to pull up with injury at some point. Continue reading →
The 4.20 alarm. Eating a bowl of porridge while driving. Long term Blue car park. Waiting for ages for the shuttle bus. Then the long, shuffling queue. This being the busiest time of the day in the airport will never cease to be weird. Then sitting squashed up in a blue and yellow McDonalds Big Mac box for three hours with knees up against the seat in front. The flight full, masks under chins. You can’t hold your breath for the whole flight. I’m thinking, yes, this is the freedom we’ve missed for the last year. Continue reading →
Scorned and covered with scars, we strove with our last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable star… to right the unrightable wrong… to fight the unbeatable foe… to run where the brave dare not go… to ride into hell for a heavenly cause… And lose. Again. We did. Continue reading →
I’ve read a lot of sports psychology over the last year so I know this is basic stuff and I just have to accept I got it badly wrong. I should know better. I built things up too much in my head, put too much pressure on myself, and got into how big the whole thing was, dug myself into a hole. I should have just trusted my processes, trusted my body’s muscle memory, all those hours of practice, my body knew what to do. Just let it flow. That’s being ‘in the zone.’
First match up was against England on the pitch I made my Ireland debut on in 2011… against England. This was the advice I got from a friend by text before that game. ‘Everything is going to happen at such speed you won’t realise what’s happening to you. You’ve got to be ready for it… Hit it from the start like a hurricane!’Continue reading →