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Precious gift of time in strange year could be blessing in disguise

John Greene


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Katie Mullan has been one of the faces of the
20x20 campaign, and is also supporting ‘Lidl
Moves for 20x20’, an initiative to get women
into the exercise habit. Photo: David Cavan

Katie Mullan has been one of the faces of the 20x20 campaign, and is also supporting ‘Lidl Moves for 20x20’, an initiative to get women into the exercise habit. Photo: David Cavan

Katie Mullan has been one of the faces of the 20x20 campaign, and is also supporting ‘Lidl Moves for 20x20’, an initiative to get women into the exercise habit. Photo: David Cavan

Katie Mullan has lately found herself on the sideline at her local GAA club, watching her old camogie team training and resisting the urge to get stuck in once again. "I'd be a bit nervy now," she admits, "it's a different ball game. I do go for pucks but I haven't got fully in the mix." Now is not the time for that, no matter how much she'd love to give it a go.

Lockdown for Ireland's hockey captain has been busy - and fruitful. Like many athletes in their prime, it has been an interesting experience adjusting to a new world without the demands of a strict training regime, where so much of your time is accounted for. And like many young athletes, a prolonged spell living and working at her parents' home in Coleraine has had its benefits. Once she overcame the initial disappointment of the Olympics being cancelled, Mullan began to realise she had been given a gift of time, and she set about making the most of it.

For a start, there were a few things needed fixing. Top of the list was a troublesome hip complaint which had been niggling at her for 18 months. "It wasn't restricting me but it just was not right," she says. "So whenever lockdown happened, the physio said to me why don't we try and strengthen this up and get you right for what the next 12 months is going to bring. I actually ended up doing weeks of rehab and I feel so much better for it. That gave me such a focus, such a habit, because I had to do some form of rehab every single day so it kept me in a really good routine. Obviously I wasn't playing hockey so I was able to purely focus on that."