Niamh Rockett: 'When I was 16 I was told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 30'

Niamh Rockett: 'When I was 16 I was told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 30'
Niamh Rockett. Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Q. Ambition or talent - which matters more to success?

A. Both are very important to be successful, as both go hand in hand, but I believe ambition is more important in my opinion anyway. I am a firm believer in not setting limitations on myself and I suppose ambition is a characteristic I admire in a lot of my sporting heroes.

Q. Who is/was your sporting mentor?

A. My father Eddie. I don’t think he has ever missed one of my games! He has been there through all my best days and the worst days, although he can be as critical as Joe Brolly at the best of times!

Q. What ambitions do you still have?

A. To win a Senior All-Ireland would be a dream. Myself and Claire Whyte said we would retire when it happens as we would have a Junior, Intermediate and Senior All-Ireland – that is the dream!

Q. Where are you happiest?

A. Definitely playing with my nephews and niece. They live right next door so anytime you’re feeling down they always pick you up. I would also have to say any chance I get I try to do some travelling when sport has eased down.

Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?

A. Chocolate or some sort of sweet dessert. I have done a lot of baking during COVID- 19, so the sooner we get back training the better!

Q. The four people you’d invite to a dinner party?

A. Chris Martin, Doireann Garrihy, Donagh Meyler, and Katie Taylor. A nice mix!

Q. If you could pick one superpower, what would it be?

A. Probably being able to time travel would be pretty cool.

Q. What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

A. I have an ongoing knee problem, for which I have gotten three operations and had diagnosed with arthritis. When I was 16 I was told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 30. My whole world crumbled when I was told I couldn’t play sports anymore, having played hockey, soccer, football, and camogie. Looking back now I would tell my 18-year-old self that things will be tough, you’ll have good days and bad days but things will work out and don’t lose hope. I have been lucky enough to win two All-Irelands after my operations.

Q. The one result you’d change if you could.  

A. Being diagnosed with Arthritis after my third operation. It would have saved a lot of tears!

Q. A motto you live by 

A. “If you can believe it, your mind can achieve it” 

Q: One teammate you’d want to have your back?

A. Claire Whyte, she always seems to be close by anytime I get upended in a tackle.

Q: Your manager’s on a lie detector, what’s the first question you ask him?

A. “Who has the final say, you or Dan Shanahan (the real boss)?” 

Q: Best perk of your sport away from the game? 

A. The friends and people I have met through sport definitely. I’ve met some amazing people which I will hopefully have for life.

Q. Out of 10, rate your satisfaction 

A: That’s a tough question, I’m usually quite optimistic but at the moment with no sport, it can be very demoralising. I’m kept busy with teaching during the day and helping out on the farm at home so I’d say 8/10 (11/10 if we get a Championship!).

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