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Women in Sport: Irish professional footballer Abbie Larkin

Women in Sport: Irish professional footballer Abbie Larkin


by Sarah Gill
27th May 2024

In this instalment of our Women in Sport series, we chat to Abbie Larkin on everything from her earliest sporting memories to her greatest goals and proudest achievements.

Abbie Larkin is a 19-year-old from Ringsend, Dublin who has been falling in love with football since she was four years old. A player with Ireland Women’s National Team and a newly appointed Cadbury ambassador, she’s growing from strength to strength with the support of those around her.

Here, she shares her sporting journey so far…

Abbie Larkin

Name: Abbie Larkin.

Profession: Footballer (and newly appointed Cadbury Ireland ambassador).

Earliest sporting memory?

When I used to play football every Friday back home in Irishtown with one of my coaches through the years, Jonathan Tourmey (started playing with Jonathan aged 4-5).

How did you become involved in your sport?

My dad and mam used to play when they were younger and they just kind of got me into it (best decision they ever made).

What message would you like to share with young women and girls interested in pursuing a career as an athlete?

I would say to make sure you keep enjoying it and keep pushing yourself because, at times, it’s going to be tough, but the highs are going to be worth it by a mile. So, don’t give up if it’s something you want to pursue.

For me, it’s honestly crazy to see how far I’ve come and how far I’ve still to go, but if anyone had told me ten years ago that I’d be playing for my country and the new Cadbury Ireland ambassador, I wouldn’t believe them (so girls, I repeat, do not give up).

Proudest moment so far is…

Making the Irish World Cup squad last year, and then making my debut in the first game against Australia.

The female athlete I admire most is…

Vivianne Mediema because of how hard she works on and off the pitch — she is such a professional, and her game intelligence is outrageous. In my opinion, she is one of the best strikers in the world.

Abbie Larkin

Favourite sporting memory…

Again, travelling with my team to the World Cup was such a dream and an honour.

Do you think there is still a stigma around women in sport?

I think there has always been a bit of a stigma around women in sports, but I feel like these past few years—especially since the World Cup—the women’s game has propelled and people in general are supporting us a lot more which is phenomenal. It’s also fairly cool to see major brands getting involved in women’s sports and not only the men’s game. Cadbury is the one that comes to the top of my mind as a partner of the Irish women’s national team, Cadbury truly supports women’s football from national to grassroots level, especially with their new FAI Cadbury Kick Fit programme, which just officially launched.

What is the biggest barrier to driving visibility in women’s sports?

I think accessibility is a main barrier, but I’m happy to say I’ve seen this change drastically in the past few years. As mentioned, the new FAI Cadbury Kick Fit programme breaks down these barriers directly and is a fun way for women to get involved in football, no experience is needed, all you need is some runners and a positive attitude. Plus, we’re coming into summer, so it’s the perfect time to give football a go yourself, no excuses!

The biggest stigma/misconception that exists in women’s sport is…

That it doesn’t have any supporters, which I think we can all agree is not true.

Abbie Larkin

If I wasn’t an athlete, I would be…

An equestrian (or some form of show jumper).

My favourite pre-match meal is…

Chicken and pasta always.

My daily routine…

Back in London, I wake up, head to the training ground, have my breakfast and then head to prehab in the gym. After prehab, myself and the team head out to the pitch for training, then some lunch and a final gym session. Once we’re finished, I usually hang out with Izzy (one of my best friends, who is also on the same team as me… very handy).

My biggest sporting goal is…

I want to be the best player I can be and to play at the highest level in women’s football.

Sports brands I love (Irish or otherwise)…

I am a sucker for Puma.

How do you mind your mental health?

I make sure to stay in contact with my friends from back home because they always keep me grounded and make me feel better. My family is also key and allows me to reset before I go again.

Abbie Larkin

My three desert island beauty products are…

Tanning oil to get a good colour, moisturiser (with SPF of course) and lip balm.

I need 7-8 hours of sleep a night because…

Then I feel refreshed and recovered for training in the morning.

Confidence, to me, is…

Everything, because when I struggle with confidence, I’m not myself and I don’t play well. So, for me it’s just about being myself and embracing that.

How do you get over a bad performance?

To be honest, I get frustrated as I hate losing (I mean who doesn’t), but I always take it as a learning opportunity to see how I can improve for the next match.

Lastly, why is sport such an integral part of community, on a club, local, national and personal level?

To put it simply, sport brings people together. I also think team sport teaches you about yourself, it made me a better player and communicator. I think everyone should take part in some form of team sport, give it a go this summer with Kick Fit and you might surprise yourself.