In this instalment of our Women in Sport series, we hear from GAA player Aishling Moloney on her journey so far, her words of wisdom for young women starting out, and the biggest misconception in women’s sport.
A 24-year-old GAA star from Cahir, Co. Tipperary, Aishling Moloney is no stranger to the mental and physical challenges of sport.
Having suffered a cruciate ligament knee injury in June 2021, the former TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Footballer of the Year, the sporting star is back in action and has her eyes on a Senior Ladies Football All Ireland medal.
Aishling has a degree in PE and Biology from DCU.
Name: Aishling Moloney
Profession: Teacher of Physical Education and Biology
Earliest sporting memory?
Seven years of age arriving at football training in a pair of red wellingtons.
How did you become involved in your sport?
My family is a big sporting family. My dad would be hugely interested in GAA.
What message would you like to share with young women and girls interested in pursuing a career as an athlete?
Pick a sport that you enjoy. Stick with it, you will grow to appreciate the friends and memories that you will make. You won’t regret it.
Proudest moment so far?
Winning the Intermediate All Ireland to be promoted to the Senior ranks.
The female athlete I admire most is…
Rachael Blackmore. She has been an amazing ambassador for young girls in the horse racing industry. She has gained serious respect not only in Ireland but across the world due to her astonishing achievements.
Favourite sporting memory?
Winning the Intermediate camogie club All Ireland in Croke Park with Cahir.
Do you think there is still a stigma around women in sport?
It has changed enormously in recent years. Women in sport are now being supported by high profile sponsors and are getting similar media exposure to men’s sports. LIDL have set the foundations in place for the growth of Ladies Gaelic Football over the last few years and has helped make the LGFA a recognised brand which has reduced and mostly eliminated the stigma attached.
What is the biggest barrier to driving visibility in women’s sports?
Investment. For example, LIDL’s investment and exposure of the sport and players through TV advertisements and billboard campaigns has really increased the visibility of Ladies Gaelic Football. Being visible and being ‘out there’ is important for the promotion of the game so that young girls have role models to look up to.
The biggest stigma/pre-conception that exists in women’s sport is…
That we are unskilled.
If I wasn’t an athlete I would be..
I couldn’t see myself doing anything outside of sport – if I didn’t play Ladies Gaelic Football, I would love to be a jockey (I have tried but I have a fear of horses!)
My favourite pre-game meal is…
Breast of chicken, pasta and homemade tomato sauce.
My pre-game playlist includes…
Not a fan of listening to music before a game, I would prefer to chat with teammates.
My daily routine is…
Getting up at 7 am and heading out the door to teach with perhaps a gym or running session in the evening
My biggest sporting goal is…
To win a Senior Ladies Football All Ireland medal.
Sports brands I love (Irish or otherwise)…
Gaelic Armour – check them out on Instagram!
How do you mind your mental health?
Regular exercise and meeting with friends.
My three desert island beauty products are:
Don’t mind the beauty products, it’s all about food – I’d want Thai food, chocolate, and orange juice.
I need 8 hours of sleep a night because… I don’t feel energised in the morning if I don’t.
Confidence, to me, is…
Being confident in your ability to perform on the big day.
How do you get over a bad performance?
The minute I leave the dressing room it’s over, I don’t think about it.
Lastly, why is sport such an integral part of community, on a club, local, national and personal level?
Each community and parish relies on Gaelic Games in particular to overcome difficult situations and hard times. It brings happiness and support to people of all ages.
Lidl Ireland’s #SeriousSupport programme is designed to increase participation of young girls at secondary school stage in ladies Gaelic football. The retailer is seeking nominations from Irish shoppers across the country that will give their chosen school the opportunity to benefit from the programme.