Never underestimate the power of a stubborn Irish woman poster

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Whether it is making the step up to international rugby just five years after first being introduced to the game, or making the move to London from her home in West Clare, Edel McMahon is not someone who tends to get overawed by big occasions.

That laid back personality is evident any time she speaks about her sporting or professional achievements, with the scale of what she has done in both fields almost lost in the manner in which she addresses them.

Take her description of her role as a goalkeeper at just 13 years of age when Kilmihil were crowned All Ireland intermediate ladies football champions in 2008 for example.

“There were much older women involved, but I was a competitive and stubborn sort. No matter who you were, I’d charge down on anyone that came near me. I hated being a keeper but by God I wasn’t going to let any ball or body past me” she revealed in a recent interview. No mention of the fact that it was an incredible achievement to play at adult level in her first teenage year, but the focus was purely on what needed to be done.

It was a similar situation for her first exposure to Australian Rules, as McMahon and her West Clare Waves teammates were crowned European champions.

When viewed in plain terms, the progression of her career in women’s rugby has gone at a rate of acceleration that the most experienced Formula 1 pit crew would struggle to handle. A chance encounter while in college at NUIG led to her introduction to rugby, and just a few short years later she was nominated as the Irish Women’s Player of the Year in 2020. Add into the mix that she was part of the first ever Women’s Barbarians team, while being chosen as the Player of the Game in her first Six Nations start, and you start to build the picture that a settling in period is something she never really takes any notice of.

2020 has been a mixed bag for most people and that in respect, McMahon is no different than most. The year began with that outstanding Six Nations debut display against Scotland, but the manner in which Covid-19 turned the world upside down meant that the biochemist soon saw herself heading home from London to West Clare as the pause button was pressed indefinitely across the globe.

“The year started off really well with two really good wins over Scotland and Wales, and even though we lost to England, there were positives to take. Covid changed everything that we had planned for the summer tours and camps so all those goals shifted. We were still busy working away at home and we were all keeping busy” she recalled.

Once the restrictions allowed, McMahon was London bound once more to continue her dream of playing rugby at a professional level with Wasps, having made the move from Connacht in September 2019. A cruel blow arrived in the form of a knee injury in July which ruled her out of Ireland’s rescheduled Six Nations tie with Italy, but she is thankfully back on the road to full recovery with this year’s campaign moving into sharp focus.

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Never underestimate the power of a stubborn Irish woman poster

“We have got those Six Nations dates and now have something to really aim for. It is always hard to keep that focus and motivation when you have no tangible task to aim for, so there is nothing like getting that date to work toward and having that goal in sight. It really helps to kick you up through the gears and get you going. Everything has gone fine with the injury since I got back on the pitch and I have been building back up the strength and speed so thankfully it is more unrestricted now. I have had no issues and I am able to get back to my usual abrasive style” she laughed.

 

 

 

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