Saturday 22 September 2018

I want to be part of driving the game forward, vows Peat

Sene Naoupu, Lindsay Peat and Michelle Claffey after Ireland’s victory over Italy Photo: Sportsfile
Sene Naoupu, Lindsay Peat and Michelle Claffey after Ireland’s victory over Italy Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Lindsay Peat's remarkable sporting career is the envy of many people in the country, yet having already achieved so much, at 37, her passion still burns as strong as ever.

An All-Ireland football medal was added to her collection in 2010, which came on the back of Peat representing Ireland at senior level in basketball and at U-18s in soccer.

The Dubliner didn't have much left to tick off the list but then her son Barra arrived, and suddenly she had a new purpose as she wanted him to see his mother playing in green.

Last year's World Cup didn't quite go according to plan, and while Peat was still relatively new to the sport, it seemed like she may bow out, but in truth, her glittering career was never going to end like that.

Now an integral part of the Ireland team at loose-head, Peat wants to taste success with what is a new-look team, but she is also mindful of the bigger picture and in particular, what she can do to help improve the women's game.

"My plan was to retire after what I thought was going to be a much more rewarding and successful World Cup campaign," Peat admits.

"I personally didn't want to leave on that note. The retirement for me, at any stage, was more so for my family situation. I can't keep going working part-time or giving up stuff like that, because I just have bigger responsibilities outside of this. But I can't sit here as a female athlete and say that my job is just to perform, it's to encourage people as well."

The women's game currently finds itself at a crossroads. Sevens, which is a full-time programme, takes priority, but Peat believes that the bigger code still has a bright future.

"I want to be a part of driving this game forward and driving female sport forward," she enthuses.

"I have to be part of that. It's going to be the saddest day walking away from it but it's important to know that you're part of pushing something forward.

"Look at the statement now by the GAA and the camogie association, LGPA. I mean, that's huge - the sponsorship that the GAA are getting. I'm so proud of that. Hopefully now other institutions and unions can feed off that so we can propel everything forward.

"We don't want people earmarked for just one game, we're going to have a pool of athletes to pick from. No more than the men have. I'm sure loads of the U-20s have played GAA or hurling and they have just decided on rugby, just like the senior lads have a history of doing.

"I can't wait for the day that we are a bit more professional and we are challenging for World Cups and back winning Six Nations."

Beating Wales in Donnybrook this afternoon would help maintain Peat's hopes of achieving her next goal.

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