“She’s the sunshine that Albania needed” - Caitlin Hayes talks her friendship with Irish WNT teammate

“She’s the sunshine that Albania needed” - Caitlin Hayes talks her friendship with Irish WNT teammate
Alanna Cunnane
Alanna Cunnane

Just as Caitlin Hayes has been a welcome addition to the Irish WNT, it appears the WNT has served as a welcome boost to the Celtic defender’s life as well.

After only four games played, she’s already a major stakeholder in the starting line up for the Girls in Green, and seems to be slotting in well to the team’s shenanigans off the pitch too.

Even in wet and dreary Albania, it was her teammates,  and in particular her roommate and Peamount United star, Erin McLaughin, who kept her spirits high (although perhaps her sleep low).

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“I brought earplugs this camp” Hayes laughs, speaking at an FAI media event this morning.

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“[Erin McLaughin] was great, she’s a barrel of laughs.

“Even in the dark moments in Albania where it was a little bit tight, tried and tested she definitely put a smile on my face so I’m grateful for that.”

“Definitely she’s the sunshine that Albania needed,” she adds.

Still experiencing “imposter syndrome” in relation to her international call up and the “whirlwind” that was her debut in the Aviva stadium, she was delighted to see her four year long declaration process finally pay off.

“There were days where I didn’t think it ever would come, and probably a little bit of me gave up on it ever so slightly, just obviously because there’s only so long you can be patient after waiting four years,” she says.

“Thankfully one day I woke up and Eileen Gleeson was at the end of the phone. She said ‘I want you in’ and from there it was a massive whirlwind then that I’m still trying to get over.

“I keep saying it but I’ve had dreams that have gone worse, that was just beyond my wildest.

“To make your debut in the Aviva, get your passport the night before, have your birthday the day before, have your parents turn up and them not knowing that I was starting and then they see it, at the Aviva, winning. I struggle to sum it up because it was that type of fairytale.”

Caitlin Hayes, a role model to Celtic fans and beyond

Now into her fourth season at Celtic, the centre back is brewing a whole new generation of pink headbanded sensational footballers week in week out in Glasgow.

“I grew up in Celtic tops and Ireland tops from my grandad and from my dad, proudly, so just I know what that club means to people and it means the same to me as it does to them,” she says.

“[Being a role model] is a daunting task sometimes. You can get overwhelmed by it because obviously you just want to be the best version of yourself so they can aim to be the best too if not better.

“Pink pre wrap, what a trend! It could have been a good pair of shoes or something like that, but no we’re doing the pink pre wrap.”

“It’s a great honour and something I don't take lightly. I just hope to do them proud and that’s all I can ask for,” she says.

Aspiring to do just that come the kick off of their latest Nations League game this Friday versus Hungary, maybe we’ll see the pink headband trend infiltrate the Irish fanbase yet.

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