IMAGE staff pick their top skincare products from French beauty brands
IMAGE staff pick their top skincare products from French beauty brands

Edaein OConnell

Inside the former tram ticketing office on the market for €680,000
Inside the former tram ticketing office on the market for €680,000

Sarah Finnan

The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene
The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene

Oyindamola Animashaun

Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods
Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods

Sarah Gill

5 foolproof summer ‘fits
5 foolproof summer ‘fits

Sarah Finnan

The massage I’ve spent the past month thinking about
The massage I’ve spent the past month thinking about

Sarah Gill

Up your fitness game with our IMAGE Active event series
Up your fitness game with our IMAGE Active event series

IMAGE

This dreamy garden room extension in Santry is a gardener’s delight
This dreamy garden room extension in Santry is a gardener’s delight

Amanda Kavanagh

Inside this bright Gorey home on the market for €450,000 
Inside this bright Gorey home on the market for €450,000 

Sarah Finnan

WIN a trip for two to the South of France
WIN a trip for two to the South of France

IMAGE

Image / Self / Real-life Stories

Women in Sport: Irish Women’s National Team Captain and Arsenal Player Katie McCabe


By Sarah Gill
20th Jul 2023
Women in Sport: Irish Women’s National Team Captain and Arsenal Player Katie McCabe

In this instalment of our Women in Sport series, we hear from Katie McCabe on her proudest sporting achievements, stand-out memories, and how sport can teach you so much more about yourself than you ever realised it could.

Katie McCabe is a professional footballer who plays for both the Irish Women’s National Team and Arsenal in the WSL. Originally from Kilnamanagh, Dublin, Katie grew up in a big family, so there was always someone around to keep her company and kick a ball around with.

Crediting the support of her family and friends in getting her to where she is today, Katie was just named as one of the EA Sports’ top 100 players for their FIFA Women’s World Cup mode, making her the only player from Ireland to make the list.

Here, she shares her sporting story so far…

Katie McCabe

Name: Katie McCabe

Profession: Captain of the Irish Women’s National Team and Arsenal Player

Earliest sporting memory?

I think my earliest sporting memory was when my dad called me in one day to watch the Arsenal V Everton FA Cup final and that’s where I saw Emma Byrne and Ciara Grant for the first time. I couldn’t believe it. I was in immediate awe, and I think seeing those women play really sparked something in me. And getting to play with some of them years later was even more incredible. I really hope I can have that impact on young girls today and encourage them to continue or start playing. It’s truly never too late to start and that’s why I love supporting initiatives like FAI Cadbury Kick Fit, as it’s a free, social, non-competitive football programme to enjoy women’s football and encourage them to get fit whilst having the craic.

How did you become involved in your sport?

My brother Gary had a lot to do with getting me into sport – it was actually him who brought me to my first ever match. He was always a supportive figure and a great role model for me growing up. That and my dad showing me the Women’s FA Cup final.

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

I would say to just keep going. If you enjoy it, don’t stop. You might not win every time but take those experiences as learning opportunities and grow from them. Also, believe in yourself, you have to know you can do it to truly be your best.

Proudest moment so far…

I have to say my proudest moment so far has been qualifying for this year’s World Cup alongside my Irish teammates. The feeling was fairly unmatched and it still doesn’t feel real. To be honest I’d say it won’t feel real until we’re on that flight to Australia in July.

The female athlete I admire most is…

Katie Taylor because she is truly a weapon in the ring. Her determination and passion for the game is something to be only admired. I was lucky enough to go to one of her matches a while back and it was just incredible. Plus, on top of being a phenomenal athlete, she’s also a genuinely lovely person and deserves a hell of a lot of credit.

Favourite sporting memory…

Qualifying for the Women’s World Cup has to be one of my favourite and proudest sporting memories. We made history that night and it was just insane. Plus doing it for your country adds an extra level of pride that’s unbeatable (let’s hope we can recreate that magic in Aus). I also have some pretty surreal moments with Arsenal and winning the league a few years ago. To be honest I consider myself very lucky to be doing what I love most, so it makes me really proud that I can encourage younger players to get into the sport, that’s why Cadbury Supporter & A Half means so much to me as it’s No.1 aim is to drive awareness and encourage participation for women in grassroots clubs.

Katie McCabe

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

I think things have improved, but yeah, I think there’s still stigma on certain levels. That’s why I think it’s unreal to see global brands like Cadbury supporting the Women’s team. We need these high-level sponsors to back us and create the visibility for the game and women’s sport in general.

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

I think accessibility is huge, the many strides for pay parity has helped a lot. Supporters and their desire to watch women’s sport is so important so campaigns like Cadbury Supporter & A Half really helps drive this visibility and awareness.

If I wasn’t an athlete I would be…

A rockstar. No, just kidding, if I wasn’t a soccer player, I’d probably be working in sport somehow, maybe as a commentator. I think I would have found a way into sport one way or another.

My favourite post-match meal is…

I have to admit I love a cheeky Nandos, my go-to order is a hot butterfly with spicy rice and peas. You just can’t beat it. And dessert is always a Cadbury Mint Crisp.

My pre-match playlist includes…

I love a good mix of music, but you can’t argue with some classics like Abba or more recently Dermot Kennedy, depending on my mood. Both have absolute bangers though, I’m also partial to a good throwback tune.

My daily routine is…

My daily routine in training (at Arsenal) usually consists of me on the pitch for around 90 minutes every day, but on-site from 9am – 3pm. But my dream day would consist of grabbing a coffee (preferably a flat white) and catching up with some friends and family in the sun. Anywhere sunny is a big win for me.

My biggest sporting goal is…

To win the World Cup for my country.

Sports brands I love (Irish or otherwise)…

I love my Whoop wearable wristband, it’s very handy for health and training, so that’s gotta be up there.

Katie McCabe

Biggest splurge to celebrate a win…

Going out for a snazzy celebratory dinner with the girls in London, good food and good people is the perfect combination in my eyes.

How do you mind your mental health?

I think mental health in athletes, and everyone is huge and something that needs to be spoken about more. I personally find it very beneficial to chat to people that I’m close to and making sure I’ve time to prioritise myself, even if it’s for a couple of minutes a day.

My three desert island beauty products are…

Ohhh that’s a tough one, but I’d have to go with a moisturiser with an SPF to protect my skin, a lash brush, and my mascara. I’d be all set then!

At night, I sleep for…

Well, I get about 7 hours a night, sometimes I feel I should probably get more but to be honest 7 works for me.

Confidence, to me, is…

Having self-belief, I believe in myself and that helps push me to be my best on a daily basis. I also think my confidence stems from staying in good shape and knowing that I’m capable of anything I put my mind to.

How do you get over a bad performance?

To be honest, I hate losing, even if it’s in training, I hate it. But when we do lose, it spurs me on to play even better next time. However, in terms of getting over it, I think a hot shower and good night sleep can do the world of good. I can then wake up ready for the next day and ready to go again. I would say I’m definitely a fan of winning though, but then again who isn’t.

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

Sport is such a huge part of my community, as well as so many others across the world. I think it offers an outlet to meet like minded people who can turn into lifelong friends, as well as a fun way to exercise and keep fit.

I also think sport teaches people a lot about themselves, it gives you everyday skills, such as making you a better team player, compromiser, and communicator. In my opinion, everyone should take part in some form of team sport, give it a go and you might surprise yourself.