Louise Galvin (34) is a retired Irish rugby player aged 7 to 15, footballer and basketball player and works as a Physiotherapist at Kerry University Hospital. She comes from Finuge and lives with her husband Donnacha in Fenit. They are expecting their first child.
how were you as a little girl
I grew up on a dairy farm. The house was about football and farming and that’s where I jumped in. I was quite a tomboy. I was either out on the farm or kicking a ball off the walls.
Three words to describe yourself?
Competitive – more with myself than with other people – pragmatic and empathetic.
Tell us about the work ethic on a dairy farm.
As an adult, you couldn’t stay in bed until 11 a.m. because you weren’t allowed to. They would be at the milking parlor early in the morning. My mom and dad would go to a wedding and they would have to come back at 4:30 p.m. to milk the cows and then they could go to the wedding again. I remember coming home from secondary school one day and saying: “Do you know that some people go on holiday to Spain where the weather is nice?” But for us there was more work to do when the weather was nice, like for example at the silage. But when you grow up with it, you don’t know any different.
Explain the attractiveness of the farm.
It’s more than just your livelihood. There is a real connection with the country. It’s more than just income for the family.
What drives you?
The fear of missing an opportunity in an area that I could develop.
What comes first – your desire to perform and then the sport, or does the sport make you competitive?
When you’ve played sports all your life, it’s hard to know. I think pleasure is what attracts everyone. And you just start setting goals without even realizing it. When I think about my competitiveness it’s almost natural to want to beat someone, but over time I’ve come to realize that the most important thing is to be competitive with yourself – whether it’s performance on or off the pitch. I fight to be the best version of myself. To be my strongest, fastest and strongest.
What has sport given you?
Pretty much everything. It has taught me more lessons than I will ever learn from a book. It’s huge when it comes to relationships – how you deal with people, how you work with people who aren’t your best friends, and how you work towards a common goal. It teaches you how to deal with setbacks, such as injuries. It builds resilience.
You say that in sport, the higher you climb, the harder the feedback and criticism. How did that help you?
If you’re involved in any type of professional sport, you need to be able to rely on it. They need to be able to walk into a video analysis room and say, yeah, I didn’t do that right. I work in public service so it can be PC and HR. It’s very difficult to get direct feedback. It’s not the culture, but I’m so used to it. It would annoy me to think that a person would break down and cry after hearing criticism. It’s about getting better.
Best advice given?
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
Best advice you give?
Don’t sweat the little things.
How has Covid-19 affected you?
I’m from Kerry but I had to live in Dublin for rugby. I was planning to retire at the end of 2020 and then Covid struck. I got married the previous September and we are both from Kerry and wanted to move back. So instead of waiting to see what would happen, it was time to move home, settle in, and live life like true adults.
You said “if you exercise a lot, you’re pretty selfish”. How come?
Your relationships and decisions are all about the sport. But that will all change completely as I am having a baby soon.
What is your connection to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland?
Before moving to Dublin to play 7s I worked as a physical therapist at University Limerick Hospital. I specialize in CF patients. It’s tough because it’s a life-limiting disease. CF Ireland is an incredible patient association in terms of what they have been doing. I’ve seen firsthand how they help.
Support Cystic Fibrosis Ireland on 65 Roses Day, April 8th, by participating in a 65 Roses Challenge, donating online at 65Roses.ie or by purchasing a purple rose at participating Dunnes stores, malls and other outlets nationwide
https://www.independent.ie/life/upfront-sportswoman-louise-galvin-on-farming-fitness-and-pending-motherhood-41510749.html First up: Athlete Louise Galvin on farming, fitness and impending motherhood