Tuesday 28 March 2017

'You see a lot of tragic stuff and you see some great stuff' - Healy

Dublin's Noelle Healy with the Brendan Martin Cup. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dublin's Noelle Healy with the Brendan Martin Cup. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

No matter how Dublin fare in Sunday's All-Ireland senior ladies football final, Noelle Healy can always put sport into perspective, given what she experiences on a daily basis at Beaumont Hospital.

After qualifying from UCD as a doctor, Healy's embarked on another six years of "rewarding" training as an anaesthetist.

The Dublin skipper spends most of her day in surgical theatre, which can be emotionally demanding.

But it brings a realisation that there's more to life than football, and while successive final defeats to the six-in-a-row chasing Cork certainly sting, work builds up a resilience which doesn't allow her to take anything for granted.

"You see a lot of tragic stuff and you see some great stuff. You have some very difficult days and you have some great days. There was one person that stood out in my mind, when I had her chart she had the exact same date of birth as myself," Healy (pictured) says.

"She'd been through a horrible time but she came in, this was her one appointment and she said 'I'm going to go back to college now and I'm going to work' whereas I was thinking 'Oh I've to go to training now and I'm so tired'.

"There's nothing to complain about. This is something that I get to do and I'm blessed with the decisions that I've made, whereas some people have had their lives changed by something they've had no control over.

"You have to enjoy these things and when it's a loss it's a loss, but you still have people around you and while it can feel like you've lost something nothing's really changed dramatically in your life."

Job skills certainly cross over onto the football pitch and Healy (25) revels in the "high pressure environments".

"You have to think quickly, you have to know where your greatest resources are," she says. "You have to be able to communicate clearly and define who is going to be the leader at that stage and who's going to take control, so from that point of view they complement each other."

It can be a "tough balancing act" between work and training but the Castleknock forward has her days planned out well in advance to deal with a gruelling schedule.

"You just need to plan ahead - you've your food ready, your gear ready, you've allotted your time to get your work done that you need to get done," she explains.

"Then you just need to enjoy it. When you're playing football, focus on your football. When you're in work, you're concentrating on that and not letting yourself be distracted by football."

After grinding out wins against Donegal and Mayo in difficult circumstances, Gregory McGonigle's Jackies will be hoping to right the wrongs of finals past, make it third-time lucky and send Healy up the Hogan Stand steps to collect the Brendan Martin Cup.

"We've been given the chance in the championship this year to learn lessons again in the games against Donegal and Mayo - Mayo came out very strong in the second half and we had to readjust," she says.

"We were able to readjust on the pitch and then look over it and see 'if we'd done this' we could stop that from happening. . . it's always about learning - it's win or learn as Conor McGregor's coach says."

On Sunday, Healy will be hoping it's win and learn.

Irish Independent

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