‘I think about Dad all the time’
My whole family is so invested in my career. It’s fantastic.
Honestly I speak to someone from my family on FaceTime every single day. Even though the time differences are all over the place, they still manage to fit me in somewhere. Especially my mum, Nuala, she just got a new phone just so she can call me on Facebook Messenger, she’s texting and calling like five times a day, sending me all these emojis and stuff, it’s hilarious.
My dad, John, passed away in 2016 when I was playing at Glasgow, just as I was talking with the Dash. He fell sick with cancer and I really didn’t know about it, because I was away and my family didn’t want to worry me, but eventually it just took over his body.
He was an absolutely huge influence on my career. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money but he would buy me everything I needed like boots and memberships for clubs. He would always tell me I was the best player out there, no matter what. He tried to instill that belief in me.
I think about him all the time when I’m away, especially with the things I’ve achieved these past few years. He’d be over the moon.
My brothers still play in their local league in Cork and they joke around with me, saying, ‘Come play for us’. I did go and train with the men’s team when my brother played for Grattan United, which was pretty cool.
I know they’re really proud of me, they’re always sending me messages after a game. I feel like I know everyone in Knocknaheeny, and they’re all really supportive. When I walk around there, I say hi to everyone. Growing up, there was a high crime rate and stuff like that, so to see not just me but other people coming out of there doing great stuff, it’s amazing.
Part of a football revolution
Women’s football has taken huge steps over the last few years, and then last year it just took off with the World Cup. You could feel it.
I had nine teammates on my Courage team who were there, but watching from afar was also mixed emotions for me – I was wishing I was there. But we’re getting better as a national side every camp we go into. Right now we’re in the middle of the qualifiers for Euro 2021 – we’ve played three games and we’ve got seven points so it’s going well.
I feel more of a responsibility when I play for Ireland now. I’ve been in the side for seven years, I have 75 caps and I’m still only 25. Playing for Ireland is something I really cherish so I don’t see it as pressure; I just go out there and give it my absolute best.
Qualifying for Euro 2021 would be a dream come true, honestly. It’s what we’ve all been working for. I want it so badly.
It’s in England, so we’d hope to get a lot of fans and all of my family would come over for sure. And we wouldn’t just be like, ‘Oh we made the Euros, our dream has come true’ – once we make it, we’re going to compete and try to win.
Aussies are raising the bar
Sam Kerr is the best striker I’ve ever played against. She’s absolutely world class. Very skilled. Scores lots of goals but not only that, she works so hard for her team.
She’s gone to Chelsea now which is awesome for her but it’s a shame for the W-League and the NWSL. But she really deserves everything she gets – I’m very happy for her.
The USA has one of the best women’s soccer leagues in the world but I think others are getting closer to it. The FA Women’s Super League is fantastic and it’s getting so big there, and I’ve been really impressed with the W-League. There are some high-quality players here. It’s coming along in leaps and bounds – there’s some up-and-coming Australian talent in our team that is absolutely fantastic.
I’ve just signed a new deal with the Courage for the next few years but definitely in the future playing in England will be in the back of my mind. It’s a fantastic league and it’s only a 40-minute flight from home, so time will tell.