Women in Sport: Hockey Player Lizzy Murphy
Here, we speak with hockey star Lizzy Murphy on her sporting journey so far, from earliest memories to biggest goals…
Canada born and Dublin raised, Lizzy Murphy first picked up a hockey stick at the age of 14, when she joined the Hermes Hockey Club for a six year stint before moving to Loreto HC, where she played for three years.
A past pupil of St Kilian’s German School, Lizzy went on to do a Masters in Agricultural Science at UCD, and is currently studying for her Chartered Accounting Proficiency 1 (CAP 1) exams.
Selected for the Irish National Team in 2016, Lizzy received her first cap in 2017 against Scotland, and has participated in numerous European championships since, as well as one World Cup, and the Tokyo Olympics. At the moment, Lizzy is playing abroad in Germany for the Grossflottbeker Hockey Club in Hamburg.
Name: Lizzy Murphy
Profession: Hockey Player
Earliest sporting memory?
Being at the Dublin Horse Show in 2004, watching the Irish Team winning the Aga Khan Trophy, sitting with my brother on the hedges at the far end of the arena closely watched by my dad. I remember thinking: That is what I want to do when I am older – be a professional horse rider. The aspiration to achieve success in sport did not change, just the type of sport.
How did you become involved in your sport?
I got involved through school in 3rd class at the age of 8 years. I had never heard of hockey before, but all my friends played it at that time, so I went for it. At the age of 11, the coach suggested I try the goalie position and I have not looked back since. However, hockey was not the only sport I played, I also did swimming and got involved in horse riding.
What message would you like to share with young women and girls interested in pursuing a career as an athlete?
Trust the process, train hard, but never forget to enjoy it. Loving the sport you do makes all the tough training sessions worth it. It will be challenging at times, and it may feel like there are more tough times than good ones, but trusting in your preparation and hard work will help you in the pursuit of a successful sporting career.
Proudest moment so far?
Seeing the young goalkeepers I coach succeed in their games and setting new, higher goals for themselves.
The female athlete I admire most is…
Katie Taylor because she has blazed the trail for female professional boxers. She is a true inspiration to young girls and the way she goes about her business is with the utmost professionalism.
Favourite sporting memory was…
Qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in front of a home crowd in Donnybrook.
Do you think there is still a stigma around women in sport?
I think the stigma has lessened a lot due to the fact that there are more female athletes present in the media and more professional women working in sports than there used to be. But I do think there is still work to be done to completely get rid of it and close the gap between male and female sports.
What is the biggest barrier to driving visibility in women’s sports?
Accessibility is the key factor in driving visibility for me. Making women’s sport easier to access for both young and old. Presenting women’s sport in an equal manner to their male counterparts e.g., playing and televising big matches for both during prime time is a key way to make it more visible. Another barrier is sometimes the lack of funding. SoftCo, Sport Ireland and Park Developments have been crucial in allowing women’s hockey teams to go semi-pro by providing funding for the team. But there are still other female sports that lack this funding compared to their male counterparts.
The biggest misconception that exists in women’s sport is…
That it is not as exciting as watching men’s games, but I think this has been proven wrong time and time again – that can be seen in the demand for tickets for Katie Taylor’s fight or for the first game of the Irish women’s football team in the world cup which sold out an 83,000 person stadium. I think it is fair to say that women’s sport is growing huge momentum which is exciting to see; however, there is still some way to go.
If I wasn’t an athlete, I would be…
My favourite pre-match meal is…
A good cup of coffee and a bowl of porridge with apple and granola on top.
My pre-match playlist includes…
A lot of EDM, house and techno songs – not everyone’s cup of tea but works for me to get into the right headspace.
My daily routine…
Depends on whether I am in Germany or Ireland. When I am in Ireland I only train with the national team. We train for a full day on Monday and Tuesday. Typically, this would consist of arriving at Sport Ireland Institute at around 9am and eating breakfast. Then we have a meeting to discuss what we are going to do in training for the week and then it is out on the pitch by 10:30 for warm-up. Depending on the load in the week, this session will be either more intense or more technical. Then around 12:30 we stop for lunch and of course, a coffee.
Around 4pm the GKs (I and two others, Holly and Aoife) will get ready for our GK session with Nidge. We will train till around 5/5:30 and then join in the training with outfielders till about 6:30pm. We end the day with dinner together as a team, given to us by SABA. Tuesdays are similar in terms of layout just instead of a 2nd training session it is a gym session. The rest of the week I study for most of the day for my CAP1 with a few gym sessions and GK sessions dotted in where I can.
In Germany, it is slightly different as I train with my club in the evening. I’m usually up early around 8am and head to the gym/GK session then home to study. Around 1pm I will have lunch at home or meet up with friends and then in the evening, around 6:30, I will head to training which will go till about 10:00 pm depending on the evening.
My biggest sporting goal is…
To qualify and play as the first goalkeeper at the Olympics.
Sports brands I love (Irish or otherwise)…
Queen B and Lululemon would be my favourites.
Biggest splurge to celebrate a win?
Has to be dinner and drinks with the team.
How do you mind your mental health?
An important thing for me is to switch off completely from hockey. I am not a person that can think about hockey 24/7. I need something else to do on the side. Before I moved to Hamburg I would do horse riding, I grew up with it and continued it up until I went to Germany. It was great because it took my mind completely off hockey. Now in Hamburg studying for my CAP 1 takes up a lot of time but also just meeting up with friends and family. We also have an amazing sports psychologist in the Irish team – Mags – who I will always go to if I am not feeling 100% mentally.
My three desert island beauty products are…
Face cream, suncream and lip balm
I need 7 hours of sleep a night because… it is the minimum I need to perform, but if I can get more, that’s even better.
Confidence, to me, is…
Believing in yourself and trusting your process.
How do you get over a bad performance?
I talk it out with my goalkeeper coach, especially if I have another match on the next day. If I have time, I review the clips of the game. However, if I dwell on it too long it will affect my performance in the next game, so for me, it is important to review it quickly and put it to bed.
Lastly, why is sport such an integral part of community, on a club, local, national and personal level?
Sport brings people together no matter the level and it’s a fantastic way to get involved in the community and meet new people from different walks of life. I have always loved competitive sport but also making friends within the sport. A lot of my closest friends are the girls I have played with at club, underage and at national level. It brings people together at all levels.
Imagery via ©INPHO/Tom Maher.