Name:  Paula Gribben

Teams represented:  Clonduff, Down, Ulster, UUJ

Age: 27

Typical weekly training / game schedule:

Train three or four times a week plus one or two games depending on fixtures

What changes / advances have you seen in the game in the last couple of years? What are the demands like on players and how would you like to see the game progressing?

The demands on players are as high as ever, however I strongly believe in counties like our own, there is still a long way to go with communication and organisation to look after the best interests of the players. We’re not doing ourselves justice in Down at county level when girls who play county are still expected to train every night with club and county.

In the future I would like to see every county have a professional setup were players are rewarded for playing county. At the minute, many players are put off as an awful lot is expected of them in return for very little, which is a shame because if we had all the top players in Down out we would be a very competitive team – girls have more hunger and desire to do well in the club championship.

I think simple things like looking after girls well in terms of facilities, training equipment, access to treatment and travel expenses would invite more girls to play for their county.

Tell us about your nutrition – does it vary a lot from off season / in season / match day? Any tips?

I try to keep a good balanced diet all year round and on match days I always plan what I will eat that day and what time I will eat it to ensure maximum performance.  One tip for everyone, players and non-players, is to try to replace all fluids you drink with water, as water has many benefits for your performance and overall health.  But obviously when on a night out I wouldn’t expect to see people drinking water all night long!!

A % of every sale of the Be Healthy loaf is going to support counselling, scholarships, personal development and careers advise for players. Sum up what recognition and support like this means to players?

Women in sport has been pushed to the background for many years. The recognition that women deserve for doing the same amount of training as men, and sometimes more, has only in recent years been brought to light, and the WGPA is one of the reasons for this.  By buying this bread you are not only promoting women in sport, you are supporting girls who give up their time to play, put their lives on hold for the love of the game, and who will be role models for young girls across Ireland who wish to succeed.  Along with knowing you have a tasty loaf in the cupboard, you will also know you are helping build the WGPA organisation which can look after the welfare of women in the GAA, and someday hopefully your child will gain the benefits of this in years to come.

Quick Q’s:

Favourite Manager(s), and why?:

Marty Mallon – He’s a man that gets straight to the point and you leave every training session having worked your socks off and feel all the better for it!

Sporting Hero:

Roger Federer

Best thing about being an intercounty player:

Getting to wear the Down jersey and play against some of the best players in the country.

Funniest thing to ever happen:

Too many to choose from but one that always come up is the week after we won Ulster with Clonduff a load of us went to Kilkenny to celebrate for the weekend and took the cup with us! All I’m allowed to say is – lost cup, announcement on local radio station for a cup, captain ringing Bangladesh!!

Favourite team mate/player:

My sister Karen – From pucking about in the back park to playing together in Croke Park, she has helped make me the player I am today.  When I came onto the senior team, club and county, she was well established and knew the craic, so I always had her looking out for me, but now that she’s a ‘well matured’ player I have to keep an eye out for her!!

Hardest thing about playing at county level:

The demands of training – men who play at county level don’t train with their club.  However girls are expected to do both which can be tough physically and mentally.

One rule you would like to change:

In camogie I would get rid of the handpass into the net.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given:

It’s the next ball that counts!

Favourite interest / talent / hobby away from GAA:

Love watching the Tennis, going on holidays and sleeping!

Three words other people would use to describe you:

Always running late.

What are you most proud of so far (on or off the field!):

Winning Ulster with Clonduff as they are the girls you grow up with so win with them is something special!

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