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Question time with brand ambassador, Stacey Flood

We caught up with brand ambassador Stacey Flood and got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into her remarkable rugby career to date.

Female rugby player Stacey Flood holding a ball

Who was your sporting hero growing up (in rugby and out of rugby)?

It’s so cliche now but I’d have to say my older sister Kim, I was lucky she was sporty because I don’t think I would have been if I could see the possibilities of sport from her playing. So, I’m grateful I had her to look up too and the fact she played GAA then transferred over to rugby because I took the leap because she did and she told me to give it a go.

What is your greatest sporting memory? 

My greatest sporting memory is qualifying for Paris 2024 on the World Series in Toulouse in front of all the Irish friends and families supporting us.

Outline of sport career to date – include which mini’s teams, which school teams, which college, which Energia AIL team, football? Any and all other sports. 

So from when I was 8 years I played Gaelic football for Clanna Gael Fontenoy on Sean Moore road. I played all the way up age grades every year from there and first got picked for Dublin squad u16 and played until my last year of minor. Having got picked for the u18 7s Irish squad I also played that year with sevens underage and Leinster u18s for rugby. When I went to college I was part time with the sevens and also played for Trinity GAA and Clanna Gael until I was fully contracted to the sevens a few months later. 8 years down the line and 48 sevens caps 10 XVs caps we are on the road to the Olympics.

If you could change anything you’ve done, what would it have been? 

I wouldn’t change anything, I think my journey has taken me on this road and I’m really grateful for all the ups and downs of sport and I’m really lucky to be where I am today and better for it as a person.

What do you believe has been key to your success – e.g. mindset, support, passion 

I think it’s a bit of everything, to be a professional athlete and trust the journey you have to be resilient and just keep going I think it’s an Irish attitude just never giving up. But also enjoying what you’re doing because that’s what makes it worth it. I don’t think I’d be able to do what I do without my incredible family who have really backed me all the way everything they sacrifice for me to continue on this dream journey. 

What part of the sport do you find the toughest? 

Not getting the performances you know the team is capable of, when things aren’t clicking and you don’t know why. It’s very frustrating and we had a period of that this year luckily we came out the other side but it’s hard place to be.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge that athletes face today? 

I think the greatest challenge at the moment is the media, the stories they put out it’s all noise and I think that and social media too is something that can create a lot of negative energy for athletes that is sometimes hard to block out.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt about teamwork? Who or what did you learn it from? 

I think it’s accepting people for who they are and realising once you do that and find a way to use everyone’s differences as a positive it’ll work better. I’ve learnt that over 8 years in the sevens programme.

What do you look for in a great coach / what do you think makes a great coach? 

When a coach looks at the person first rather than the player, knowing people is so important if you want to get the best out of them. If a coach does that you know they care and in sport if you know someone cares about the cause then you’re willing to work for them.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

If it’s meant for you, it won’t pass you. To me this means trust in the journey and the process no matter what.

Do you think you’ve sacrificed anything to get where you are?

I think any athlete sacrifices a lot, you miss a lot of things, birthdays, funerals, weddings. You miss all the college nights out and the growing a career off field, sacrifice is a part of sport but when it all comes together it’s truly worth it. It’s important you have a good support system and those around you understand what you’re trying to do and achieve which makes all the stuff you may miss easier.

How does it feel to have gained Olympic Qualification with the Sevens team. 

I don’t feel like it’s even sunk in yet. The feeling on the pitch after the final whistle was just relief, after all the years actually going doing something like qualifying, the first Irish women’s sevens team to ever do it, it feels surreal. I’m so happy for everyone involved, now we just have to go prepare to go and perform at it!