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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

Kerry ladies football, UL basketball and now part of Irish rugby's 7s bid to get to Rio

Another chapter in the sporting tale of Louise Galvin.

Louise Galvin Source: Twitter

IT STARTED WITH tag rugby on summer evenings in Limerick.

For Louise Galvin it was viewed then as a pastime rather than the starting point on a journey that brought her to Kazan in Russia last weekend and sees her focused on Malemort in France this weekend.

But she’s used to sporting adventures. That’s meant being accustomed to the Kerry ladies battles on the pitch in the summer and to the UL Huskies battles on the court in the winter.

Her nine to five was working with cystic fibrosis patients as a physiotherapist at the University Hospital Limerick.

But since last month Galvin has been on a career break chasing the dream of being part of the Irish Women’s Sevens squad that aim to compete at the Rio Olympics next year.

The tale of her rugby tape began last autumn.

“I’m very much from a very GAA family, basketball would have been the sport I would have really played through my formative years.

Team Montenotte Hotel Cork's Amanda O'Regan and Louise Galvin of UL Huskies 24/1/2014 Louise Galvin in action for UL Huskies. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“I would have played tag rugby during my summers in Limerick so I suppose I would have had experience of handling a ball but obviously that’s non-contact.

“But this year is the first proper year, you know, taking to rugby and kind of playing, I didn’t play underage at all.

“I joined UL Bohs in Limerick this season and I played in the AIL with them. Through that then I was called into an extended squad with the [Ireland] XV’s .

I didn’t make the Six Nations squad and then the management asked me to head up to some of the Sevens camps, so I did that and then that’s how this all came about.”

Juggling work in Limerick and a fledgling rugby career in Dublin was tricky.

“The Sevens squad are centralised, they generally train Monday to Friday. From weekend camps to going to continually playing I had to move up and be able to train.

Louise Galvin Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It was a big decision for maybe 24-48 hours but then once I decided to do it was kind of two feet in, all in.

“I was taken aback initially but I’ve been playing sports all my life and this is the next level up again.

“You have access to such professionals to work with them, to train daily, optimise nutrition, fitness levels, everything really to try and become the best athlete you can become.

“They were good enough in work, in my job in Limerick to give me a career break.

“I suppose I have that safety net, that if I want to give it a go for a year to go and do it.”

Last weekend was Ireland’s opening leg of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix, with a quarter-final loss to England preceding a plate final success over Holland in Kazan.

They head to France for the second round, lumped into a pool with England, Germany and Scotland.

Galvin touched down during last weekend’s action against France and has retained a spot in the squad.

Her rugby endeavours saw the UL basketball career put on hiatus last winter and while the ladies football is parked at the moment, it hasn’t been shelved entirely.

Angela Walsh and Louise Galvin Louise Galvin (right) in action against Cork in 2013 Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Should dates and fixtures go well enough I’m hoping to get back and help Kerry’s cause. Any time that I would I would be free to play I would be hoping to be able to contribute in some way, shape or form to the Kerry cause.

“I absolutely love playing for my county. I really feel like we’re knocking on the door. But this (rugby) opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

– First published 20.25 

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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