Longford Ladies Football: Patricia Hourican hoping to enjoy more success with Colmcille

Longford Ladies Football: Patricia Hourican hoping to enjoy more success with Colmcille

Colmcille ladies football player Patricia Hourican

This week we get the opinions, advice and views from Patricia Hourican Colmcille ladies Intermediate club captain on how she spends her time during this lockdown.

How did you keep yourself busy during lockdown? 

I work in St. Christopher’s CLG so I was very lucky as I was still working during lockdown, albeit in a reduced capacity and changed environment, it ensured I still had a routine and kept me busy.  Outside of that, like most people I was doing home workouts, going for walks and runs within my area.  I also took on some DIY projects, got a lot of jobs that had been on the long finger complete!! My baking skills didn’t improve, I didn’t jump on the banana bread bandwagon!!

From a club player’s perspective, since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown up until you recently returned to club training, in what way did your own lifestyle change? 

From a personal point of view, I felt life slowed down a lot for me, pre Covid between family, friends, work, playing football, executive meetings, wedding planning and general socialising I felt like I was always on the go and didn’t prioritise downtime, I was always trying to squeeze something in and fill all the gaps, whereas now I appreciate my downtime more and hope to maintain it as a priority going forward.  

I missed football from a competitive and physical activity point of view but also from a social point of view.  

What training programme/routine did you go through during lockdown and how often would you have trained? 

We are very lucky in our club to have a fitness trainer, the very well known, Michelle Farrell; she kept us busy with Zoom classes and running programmes weekly.  I also joined Peter Foy’s online programme, it was four home workouts a week, as a footballer himself, his programme was reflective of GAA and injury prevention which I found very beneficial.  I’m lucky both my fiancée and my brother both play football so we had plenty of kick about’s to keep the ball skills going, the old school jumpers for goalposts were back in action on the lawn!

Since the 24th June last club teams have been back training in groups and since the 29th June back playing challenge games. As an adult club player what are your thoughts on clubs back to full contact training and playing games?

I’m delighted to be back; it has given me a sense of normality resuming.  I have thought long and hard about my return to contact sport and the risks it posed.  Having closely followed and read the NPHET guidelines, the GAA guidelines, completed the online training and with my club having implemented new safety guidelines, I feel the risk has been minimised as much as it can be to allow the game to resume.  I think across the board we all need to take a sensible approach to Covid, in GAA and outside of that, we all need to take responsibility for ourselves and follow the guidelines in place and if we all do that hopefully we will see Covid figures decrease and more of our pre Covid life resume.

Last year 2019 was a great year for you and your club Colmcille as you were winners of the Longford Junior championship. Can you reflect on this?

Yea 2019 was a very important year for our team and club.  For us the Junior Championship was of vital importance, it was a great stepping stone for the younger players into our team.  We had a young team with a lot of our players still U16, unfortunately they had not much success underage and as our senior team went from junior to senior and back again, we had lost a lot of stalwarts to retirement throughout the years we were probably at a crossroads.  We had Nicky O'Hara and Matt Mc Gahren managing us at the time, they pulled us all together, put a plan in place and everyone rowed in behind.  We reaped the rewards and went on to win the Junior Championship last year.  For me to receive the trophy on behalf of the team was a huge honour, it was my first time to captain a winning team.  It was even more special to receive the trophy from Liam Forde; he has been a legend throughout Longford Ladies Football circles during my time playing and a gentleman to go with it.  We were treated to a beautiful meal by the Breffni Arms Hotel, Arva and we had a very memorable homecoming back to the village where people of all ages were there to welcome us.  It was so uplifting for us as a team and players for this to happen. 

This victory has really rejuvenated us as a team and a club.  We were welcomed to the local preschool and national school.  I think this has benefited the underage teams within our club as they have something to aspire to. Victory at any level has a hugely positive impact on the club.

Last year 2019 was a great year for you and your club Colmcille as you were winners of the Longford Junior championship. This year you make the step up to Intermediate grade football. What are your thoughts on being promoted to the Intermediate championship and what expectations would you have for this championship season? 

Yea thankfully we had a great finish to 2019.  We are a predominately young team so it’s a big step up for us and we know we have a lot of work to do playing at this level.  We are very fortunate to have a strong management team in place to guide us again this year.

Playing at a higher level can only improve our team as we will need to step up our performance to match our competition which I believe is positive.  This year we face Ballymore, who were Intermediate finalists last year and Drumlish who are a strong experienced side.  Against these two strong, accomplished sides, we surely are the underdogs; hopefully we play that to our advantage.  

Having won Junior, Intermediate and League titles with your club Colmcille and winning Leinster and All-Ireland championship honours with your former school Moyne Community School what advice can you give to young Longford lady club footballers hoping to achieve similar honours with their school and club? 

I suppose stick at it is the best advice I can give, don’t give up!  Every player will have highs and lows, once you weather the lows the highs will be worth it!

On the miserable, wet, cold evenings when all you want to do is stay at home by the fire, put on the gear and get going, once you’re up there training with your team mates the weather won’t bother you and you’ll thank yourself for it after, as they say the only training you’ll ever regret is the one you didn’t do!

What part of the ladies’ football game would you like to see improved and why? 

I think ladies football has made huge improvements over the last five years or so, the profile has really been raised.  I think this is a very important aspect of the organisation to encourage younger girls, seeing ladies football on TV, watching the ads, hearing it on the radio and seeing it on social media will create more awareness and generate interest.  And fair play to you Seamus, articles like these receiving air time give LGFA in Longford positive publicity.  While we are a long way off level pegging with men’s football, progress has been made and it’s very positive.  From a club point of view, last year we were due to play our Junior Final in Pearse Park as was the Intermediate Final, this was changed to Emmet Og Park Killoe, which is a fantastic ground, but it was very disappointing not playing in Pearse Park.  I believe when you think of football finals in Longford you associate them with Pearse Park, our county grounds.  It’s unfortunate that men’s games still receive precedence over LGFA Finals within Longford.

Next week we will get opinions, advice and views in relation to COVID-19 and the “Safe Return to Play Guidelines” from Mullinalaghta club player Shauna Murphy.

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