Name: Deirdre Foley
Teams represented: Donegal, UCD, Carndonagh
Occupation: Medical Student
Hobbies: Gaelic, Camogie, Soccer
Any big memories from teenage years?
I was very fortunate to be part of a great bunch of girls at underage level reaching the U14, U16 and Minor all Irelands and I think the hurt after losing the U16 final (few of us even took next day off school) and the absolute craic after finally winning the minor one really stands out!
Any challenges you’ve faced?
Thankfully I don’t think I ever had to face too many challenges when I was younger but I guess I found it hard playing with the Senior team at a young age especially when we got relegated to Intermediate in 2009.
Who influenced you growing up?
My parents have to be number one here. They both drove me all around Donegal to training when I was younger and never once complained. They basically have supported me in anything I have decided to do in life! Special mention to my dad who managed every ladies team from u12 up in my club and in my school for the guts of 15 years and I know if it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t be still playing football.
What changed as a teenager / through your playing career?
As I mentioned we were used to being the one of the best teams in Ireland at underage level and everything was a lot easier living in Donegal. I think moving up to senior level where we weren’t so successful after 2010 and trying to balance travelling from Galway, working and college was a real eye opener to the commitment involved.
Describe yourself as a 16 year old?
Chatterbox, confident, naïve, hyper, and very passionate about sport making sure I played every sport possible in the area.
How have you’ changed?
I would say I am a lot quieter now, and definitely a lot more cynical but still a chatter box at times! As for playing sport I definitely find it hard to always have the same passion with so much more going on in life but it always draws me back.
Any defining moments / people / matches in your playing career?
As I mentioned I was lucky to be part of a great underage group and also part of the intermediate winning team in 2010. I definitely reached my peak at 19! 🙂
After that, when things weren’t so great, I think having my two good friends and team mates Eilish Ward and Ciara Hegarty living with me in college made playing county at this time a whole lot easier.
I then got a bad back injury in 2014 so was out for around 10 months but when I came back in 2015 the setup in Donegal had improved massively and that’s due to Davy Mc Laughlin and Sean O Kane who brought professionalism in Donegal ladies to a whole new level.
I also was lucky to get back in time for an Ulster semi-final and final with my club which was a special couple of weeks as we had only started the team the year before.
I then tore my MCL in 2015 and didn’t play for another 6 months. These two injuries and watching the Donegal girls win our first Ulster final from the sideline made me realize I had it so lucky for so long without injuries and now I have to make the most of the next couple years and that’s the attitude I am trying to take forward now!
Typical weekly training / game schedule: 3 training/running sessions and Game, try to do pilates once a week too
Favourite Manager(s), and why?:
Kenny Griffin from Donegal. He started county football for girls in Donegal and when I was younger he was in charge of all the Donegal underage teams (U14-Minor) when no one else was willing! Thankfully he eventually got his reward for all his hard work when we won the Minor All Ireland in 2009.
Sporting Hero: I have always loved Paul Scholes and I also think Henry Shefflin is just one of a kind and the most skilled GAA player out there.
Best thing about being an intercounty player:
Playing with some of my best friends at the highest level and playing with some unbelievably skilled footballers.
Funniest thing to ever happen:
There are quite a few moments over the years that are not suitable for publishing but I think the time Eilish ward and Kate Keaney rewrote a Westlife song about Aoife Mac is up there!
Favourite team mate/player:
The first person I would want out on the field with me is Niamh Hegarty- absolutely top class footballer!
Hardest thing about playing at county level:
The travelling – Being from North Donegal means even your home games are normally an hour and a half away and travelling from Dublin on Fridays for training isn’t ideal.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given:
You can’t control what other people say or do and once you accept that you will be a lot more content in life!
Three words other people would use to describe you: probably quick, tight marker and absolutely all left foot
What are you most proud of so far (on or off the field!):
On the field I am very proud of my 3 all Irelands between Donegal and college but I still think I regard the Minor All ireland as the most special because it was the first- even still clinging on to it now 6 years later #minors4lyf