Aine Kinsella: 'I never have to fight for my voice to be heard'

Hurling performance analyst Aine Kinsella is now working with the Wexford footballers. She is the first female coach to work with a men's inter-county team
Aine Kinsella: 'I never have to fight for my voice to be heard'

NEW ADDITION: Wexford manager John Hegarty has brought Aine Kinsella in as part of his backroom team for 2023. Pic: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Aine Kinsella has gone through her story, how she played football for Carlow, took up camogie in her late 20s and somehow ended up becoming a hurling performance analyst.

Kinsella has explained how she developed a working relationship with John Hegarty through the Shelmaliers football club in Wexford in 2020, having previously been involved with the county title winning Shels hurlers, how Hegarty then brought her on board with Wexford once he was appointed football manager last autumn and how, on the eve of their Leinster SFC dress rehearsal with Laois, she is adjusting to being a coach with an inter-county football team having previously headed up the stats department of Darragh Egan's Wexford hurling setup.

Then the inevitable subject arises; her gender. We feel compelled to bring it up given that she is the first female coach to work with a men's inter-county team but we also feel a little torn for raising it as an issue, which, of course, it isn't. 

So does it bother her that we've asked the question?

"I suppose it would be a lie to say it doesn't bother me because if I was a man, I wouldn't be asked that question," she says. 

"But at the same time, I do understand why it's asked because it's kind of a novel element, for want of a better word. But look, I spend 95 percent of my time in a male-dominated environment, I teach in an all-boys school, I've only ever worked with men's teams, so I don't even bat an eyelid at this stage.

"There's been so much talk of breaking glass ceilings and stuff. But it's not the kind of a monumental step forward that it can be perceived to be from the outside. I never have to fight for my voice to be heard, or for an opinion to be taken on board."

Davy Burke, the Roscommon football manager, made the point recently that the 'modern day players are probably the most selfish people in the world, let's be honest about it. They care about one thing and it's themselves at the end of the day. And if you are not up to it, they won't be long telling you'.

That, for Kinsella, is the real essence of it.

"Yeah, 100 percent," she nods. "And they have to be selfish too because the game requires such a time commitment that if you're not giving everything to it, and if everyone isn't going in the same direction, well then it's very hard to make any progress."

Kinsella's actual coaching journey is the more interesting part of her story. Her initial entry point into working with hurling, and then football, teams was through video analysis.

"I would have used video an awful lot to illustrate and highlight things around whatever team I was working with, the style of play they were trying to implement and how that was beneficial when it was working properly and then how it was damaging, or when there were negative outcomes if we didn't get that right," she explains.

"And then, on the other side of it, you'd be picking apart the opposition's style of play, their strengths, 'How do I counteract those?' and then how our style of play would expose opposition weaknesses.

"All of that would be underpinned by video clips and then would have led to scenarios on the pitch that would have replicated some of those things and you'd have had input into that as well. This position now kind of formalises the pitch work for me, what I would have been laying the foundations for in those meetings."

*Aine Kinsella is showing her solidarity with those subjected to domestic abuse by taking part in the #StandStrong Movement established by Allianz Insurance and Women's Aid. On February 6, Allianz and Women's Aid are asking people to come together and #StandStrong against domestic abuse. See

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