Sport Rugby

Sunday 22 October 2017

'Without my wife behind me I could never play for Ireland' - Lindsay Peat's hopes for Grand Slam glory

Lindsay with her young son Barra Photos: Sportsfile/Inpho
Lindsay with her young son Barra Photos: Sportsfile/Inpho

Jennifer O'Brien

Lindsay Peat swapped the round ball for the oval just 18 months ago - and today she could secure a rugby Grand Slam for Ireland.

But the All-Ireland football winner has admitted she couldn't play for the side without the continuous support of her wife Claire and her workplace.

She will line-out against the professional English outfit at Donnybrook Stadium tonight and admits she has high hopes for Grand Slam glory.

And she says that the demands of playing for the team, coupled with working at the HSE and being a mum to toddler Barra, mean she certainly relies on others for help.

"The HSE has just been fantastic, once I'm in camp, they wish me luck," she said.

"They couldn't have been better about the whole thing.

"I have to give huge respect to my wife Claire also, without her all this just wouldn't have been possible.

"She just says 'don't worry about anything' when I'm heading off, it's amazing."

Lindsay and Claire have a 15-month-old son Barra who is the light of their lives.

And she is hoping that he goes on to take up the sport when he gets a little older.

Lindsay Peat bursts through the cover to score a try for Ireland against Wales at the Principality Stadium in the Six Nations last week Photos: Sportsfile/Inpho
Lindsay Peat bursts through the cover to score a try for Ireland against Wales at the Principality Stadium in the Six Nations last week Photos: Sportsfile/Inpho

"I had him kicking around the kitchen this morning and trying to catch and stuff like that. He actually fell asleep at the French match, so when he woke up, there were 4,000 people screaming around him and he started crying.

"He's a great craic at the moment and hopefully he will follow down the sporting route, but if he doesn't that's fine."

As for tonight's showdown at Donnybrook, as far as Lindsay is concerned, it doesn't get much better.

"You couldn't have asked for more.

"It's our old foes England, on St Patrick's Day, at home, it doesn't get better than that really. It will really be up to us now to bring it home and win."

England are travelling on the back of a sensational victory over Scotland last weekend.

But Lindsay is showing no fear.

"You have to respect England's class.

"But no, I don't fear any team," she said.

"England are a huge animal and they will do damage, but we are ready for them."

The gruelling demands of the team mean that Lindsay, like many others, is hoping the Irish outfit will soon follow England and become professional.

"It can be hard going back to normal life after a big game after being in this environment," she says.

"Even last week, coming back from Wales, I'm not going to lie, I was in a bad way for most of the week.

"You are up for work on Monday and that had been a hard-fought win and we gave everything and there just isn't that recovery time.

"Those hard-fought games are really difficult.

"England will be the same and there are going to be a lot of broken bodies on Saturday morning but it will be worth it if we win."

She said: "Even with Barra, all day is playtime for him and I'm coming in sort of beaten up…

"If we were professional, it would kind of take the pressure off and allow us a bit of time to recover.

"So far, we have achieved everything on a very much part-time basis.

"It would be really worthwhile to be professional."

For now, though, all eyes are on tonight's clash.

And then, looking further ahead, to the World Cup, which is being staged here later this year.

Irish Independent

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