Shape I’m In: Valerie Mulcahy puts best foot forward

DURING the recent public outpouring about a sexist (or sexy depending on your viewpoint) article on women’s rugby, Cork GAA star player Valerie Mulcahy refused to be drawn into the drama.

Shape I’m In: Valerie Mulcahy puts best foot forward

Instead, she looked to keep the focus on the game by tweeting a link to an Irish Examiner article outlining the background and performance of the Irish women’s rugby team. The move also underscored her deep interest in all women’s sports, regardless of creed.

“A female [journalist] had an opportunity to do something good and just added to the sterotype. It didn’t help promote a female sport,” she says.

Though gaelic football is a core part of her life, she is aware her time as a senior player is limited. “I’m 31 and would have loved to have been a professional sports player, but unfortunately that time has passed. I’m happy to stick with football but when I retire I’ll try my hand at something else — like golf.”

Off the pitch, she teaches PE and maths in Gaelcholáiste Mhuire, Cork. She plans to get married next June.

* As part of a three-year sponsorship partnership, Supervalu is now the Cork Ladies’ Gaelic football team’s official jersey sponsor. It’s on sale in Cork SuperValu stores throughout the season.

What shape are you in?

I feel I am fit and ready for championship. I do strength and conditioning in the gym, Cork team training and a lot of shooting practice. I train for up to an hour and a quarter six days a week.

Do you have any health concerns?

I don’t thankfully, bar the wrinkles. My mother got breast cancer in 2008 and I have to keep a close eye on that. She is a very strong woman and came out of it well.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I graze regularly — I wouldn’t allow myself to starve. I eat a lot of protein but not a huge amount. During the summer I love beef salad, chicken salad with cashew nuts and almonds. The more natural the better. I have protein shakes now and again, sometimes after an intense strength-and-conditioning session. But I prefer to eat my food. I enjoy being healthy and feeling healthy.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate by Lindt. I don’t drink during the summer but, when I’m not training, I like a sugary cocktail — a Pina Colada or a Cosmo.

What would keep you awake at night?

I’m someone who needs a lot of sleep. The girls joke me because I have a nap if I don’t get my nine hours’ sleep. I can’t function without it.

How do you relax?

I used to find it hard. Now, I like to have meals out, catch up with people, go to the cinema. watch and follow other sports, go for walks, and read, especially autobiographies. At the moment I’m reading Paul McGrath. I’ve started playing a bit of golf. I hope maybe to take it more seriously when I retire so that I have something competitive to focus on. I’m a very competitive creature.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

David Beckham, Bill Bailey, Mary Robinson, Mila Kunis and Jennifer Lawrence.

Favourite smell?

I love the perfume Diamonds by Armani, coffee and freshly cut grass.

What would you change about your appearance?

I think every woman wants to change something. But I’m going to be positive and say, no, I think I’m happy enough with how I look. I have gotten a few belts on my nose, so I probably need a job done on it when I retire. I nearly broke it this season in the Cork-Donegal league match in February. I had to come off the pitch after five minutes.

When did you last cry?

When I heard ‘Kissing You’, the Romeo + Juliet theme song, at a funeral. I had a tear in my eye.

What trait do you least like in others?

When people don’t treat others, animals or the environment correctly.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I can be stubborn. It helps on the pitch but not so much off the pitch. I don’t give up easily.

Do you pray?

No. But I would be spiritual. I’m still undecided about there being a God.

What would cheer up your day?

A smile from someone — and retail therapy.

More in this section


Did you miss our Virtual Event with Alison O’Connor, Aoife Moore, Clodagh Finn, Derval O’Rourke and Vicky Phelan