Mulhall revelling in extra responsibility
Published 24/06/2016 | 02:30
It says a lot about the leadership qualities of Lucy Mulhall that only a few months after taking up Sevens, she was handed the Ireland captaincy.
A former Gaelic footballer with Wicklow, Mulhall has been one of the standout performers in Ireland's quest for Olympic qualification, which continues in UCD this weekend.
Mulhall was new to the sport when Anthony Eddy made her captain but her background in GAA has made her more than comfortable with shouldering the responsibility.
"I had done a bit of captaining in GAA but I joined this sport at the age of 21 and became captain at 21 so it was pretty new to me," Mulhall explained.
"It's obviously a huge honour but it's not like I'm doing it myself either.
"There's a lot of leaders on the team. There are older girls who have been here for ages and there are girls who have captained in other sports.
"In a game of Sevens, because there are only seven players on the field, you require seven leaders.
"You require every person of the 12 who comes on the field to be a leader as well, so I guess it's not as big a duty as maybe other sports. We all help each other out and on our team we encourage each other.
"We have a lot of girls under the age of, say, 23 and then we have girls above that age who are only in rugby for a year or two years. Then we have a good mixture of girls who have been around for years.
"I think there's still huge development to be done within the team and we've learned a lot over the summer. Even between now and Saturday, I feel we can grow.
"We're a team that learns quickly and are hungry to learn. In Sevens, you can never walk away from a tournament, game or training session and have a perfect performance.
"It's just one of those sports that demands such a high level of accuracy and it demands so much from your body that you can always learn."
Ireland's final chance to seal their place in Rio is this weekend and confidence is high amongst the squad.
Russia and Spain are likely to prove to be the toughest competition and while Ireland have never beaten the Russians, they can draw on their experience of a win over Spain.
"We've come a long way, we're worked so hard together this year, especially on the World Series, and maybe not had the results we would have wanted," she said.
"The Olympics is probably the best sporting event in the world so it would be huge for us (to qualify)."