The Other Side Of Our Sportswomen Fighting Against The Outbreak

Instagram accounts usually dedicated to sport have been revealing another side to Irish sportswomen during the Coronavirus outbreak. It turns out nurses, care workers and doctors have been hiding behind the fun and glam of sport. 

We already knew most sportswomen in Ireland have jobs, very few are lucky enough to be funded as professionals. But it’s a fascinating insight to see how many of them work in jobs that have become so crucial in the fight against COVID19. 

One of the most well-known healthcare workers in the Irish sports world Kellie Harrington , world champion boxer works at St Vincent’s hospital in Fairview, Dublin. She used to be in catering but that didn’t fit with all the travel for boxing, so she switched to cleaning. Kellie gave a lovely interview on the Late Late show recently talking about tackling the virus as if it is glitter you have to chase around a room.

Siobhan O'Leary
Siobhan O'Leary (pictured) is a Professional Boxer with a 3-0 record.

Linda Djougang hit the headlines earlier this year when she played with the Irish rugby team as a student from Trinity College. Now she’s making a different kind of news as a nurse working in Tallaght hospital. 

Siobhan O’ Leary is a professional boxer, with a growing reputation since turning pro in 2018. From Kerry originally, she works in Limerick as a social care professional with homeless people. While most of us are staying safe indoors with ready access to hot water, homeless people are struggling. She posted online saying: “It’s a tough challenging time right now for Social Care professionals like myself and many many more I know. The work being done is nothing short of outstanding … This too shall pass, stay in the day, remain grounded and on we go.” 

Triathlons seem to attract medics with at least two of the most well-known Irish names doubling up their schedules. Marie Boland is a doctor specialising in rehabilitation medicine and using her 2km radius to do some fairly long loops. She fitted in 26km a few weeks ago, joking online that anything is better than a treadmill. Marie also explains in her posts how a healthcare team fits together in this crisis, it’s not all about the ICU staff. 

Carolyn Hayes was working in anaesthesiology and combining that with training for Tokyo 2020. Her social media now combines training photos with advice on how to really wash your hands. 

The Irish powerlifting team was hiding a few healthcare workers behind the weights. Chloe-Jade McDonald is also a nurse with the Belfast Trust so her life has changed completely since February. She still fits in a few weights sessions, but her main joy now just a day off work. 

Team-mate Lorraine McKenna is from Monaghan and working as a bone marrow transplant coordinator at Belfast City hospital. Transplants are one of the few non-COVID medical procedures continuing but only under extremely restricted conditions. 

This virus can be particularly risky for some of the most vulnerable people including people with disabilities. Anna Marie Leonard already knew that, working with adults who have Autism in Wicklow. Juggling that with life as a Muaythai fighter and personal trainer. Plus a side-line as one of the few female Ax-throwers in Ireland. 

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