Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Natalie Gonzales Hills wins at Evolution Fight Night 2

Natalie Gonzales Hills has her post-fight routine all worked out, down to have bringing a yoga mat so she can stretch out and ice her bruises. It's no surprise then to hear English-Filipino fighter clocked up eight wins in just under a year. She added one more in Dublin at Evolution Fight Night 2 on Saturday. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Rugby's Juliet Short togs out for Ireland after a crazy journey

Juliet Short Ireland Rugby womens team

The rugby world can come across as quite conservative, so it's always interesting to get a peek behind the curtain and see what really drives these women. And it turns out Juliet Short's road to the green jersey was far from obvious.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Cathy McAleer: Karate to Boxing with a stunning debut

World title in Karate? Check. World title in Kickboxing? Check. World title in pro boxing? Debut made, job done and on the road. Belfastwoman Cathy McAleer spoke to me about her career so far, and her hopes for women's pro-boxing in Ireland.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Jodie Fagan's muaythai journey continues

Only 18 years of age, Jodie Fagan has clocked up almost 30 fights already thanks to the growing junior muaythai scene in Ireland. Now she’s preparing for her next challenge – an Australian opponent next month on the Evolution 2 show in Dublin.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Film review: Katie Taylor opens up on her boxing journey

Photo: Katie Taylor
Sports documentaries can be a mixed bag. You don’t know how honest the person is going to be. You don’t know if this is just another promo. But when the doco is about Katie Taylor you just go. And get ready to watch her dismantling one sexist piece of discrimination against women in boxing after another.

Monday, October 22, 2018

20x20 vision for Irish women in sport #20x20

So research has discovered less than 20% of sports media is given over to women's sports - I do think any woman involved in sport could have told them that without the cost of the study. But the proof has shoved a group of Irish sports organisations and sports media into creating a new campaign with the aim of hitting that 20%.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Una Flynn on Karate, Kata and Tokyo2020 dreaming

Imagine remembering over 70 different moves with judges watching every turn and your opponent waiting in the wings to out-point you - if you allow her. Una Flynn describes the Kata discipline in Karate as tough but she’s on course for a high world ranking to send her on the road to Tokyo2020.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The women of UFC 229 #wmma

Michelle Waterson Instagram

There were three women's MMA bouts on UFC229 this weekend, but you'd hardly know that from the coverage. Obviously as an Irish person I did have an interest in the main bout, but everything else got buried this time between that fight and the drama afterwards.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Irish muaythai - when Eimear Codd and Elaine McElligott met at Fighting Spirit

KO Media irish muaythai women fighting
Photo KO Media
There was only one woman's bout on the Fighting Spirit show recently in Dublin, so the pressure was on Eimer Codd and Elaine McElligott to show what women fighters can do. They didn't disappoint. I caught up with them afterwards.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Lauren Kelly; youth olympic boxer and elbow surgery survivor

Two years ago this week Lauren Kelly was recovering from a serious elbow operation. This week she's packing to represent Ireland in the boxing ring at the Youth Olympics. How do you go from crying "buckets of tears" to the green jersey? 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Staying fit through pregnancy with kickboxer Orla O' Brien Clancy

Kickboxing while pregnant fit pregnant

From kickboxer to mother and now both together, Orla O’Brien Clancy is developing a training programme for women who want to get fit again after giving birth. And unlike many other trainers, she’s ready for women who want to go high-octane as well as those happy to walk at a brisk pace.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Siobhan O' Leary turns pro boxer and finds it's a different game to amateur boxing

Ireland’s pro boxing scene gained a new face when Siobhan O’ Leary announced the end of her amateur career a few days ago. This makes six pro female boxers over the last two decades. I caught up with Siobhan to find out how she’s making the tough transition from amateur.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Can Irish women make a living from surfing ?

Waterford surfer Grace Doyle    - when we spoke in Tramore

The World Surf League (WSL) has announced equal prize-money for female surfers at their events, and in a sign of how messed-up sport is everyone is delighted and grateful. It's a great thing, but so rare. I spoke to the Irish Surfing Association about how far women surfers have come and how far they have to go.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Rianna Jarett on loving football and why there's no racism in Irish women's football

Rianna Jarrett in action PIC Inpho via

Anyone who plays sport dreads the phrase "ACL injury" but recently I met with someone who's done her ACL three times  - yes, three separate injuries and recuperation but Rianna Jarrett is still playing football for Ireland.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Svetlana Vinnikova - Russia's muaythai women stay focused during World Cup 2018

All eyes on Russia at the moment, but of course there are plenty of fighting sports there too. Just a bit hidden at the moment by that giant Football. I talked to muaythai champion Svetlana Vinnikova about women in sport, and her own road to gold.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Surfer Grace Doyle on giving it all up for the waves

What does it take to be a surfer in Ireland? A good sense of humour and a love of bitterly cold water were what I took from hanging out with Grace Doyle by the beach.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Be the change - how can we change the lack of women in Forbes top earning athletes list?

Notice anything about Forbes highest earning athletes?!  PIC Forbes
So just when lots of things seemed to be coming together for women in sport, out comes Forbes with their list of biggest earners in sport and there are zero women in this year's Top 100. Zero. What can we do about this?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Talking to Paul Brennan, coach of the Irish women's karate team

Irish Karate Team pic via Caradh O' Donovan

Irish women doing karate at elite level have their eyes on Tokyo2020 but with so few places and so many athletes, they know it's a tough road ahead.

National team coach Paul Brennan said it's not unrealistic for his team to aim for qualifying places, and he's certainly determined to bring home a few medals from events along the way.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Women's muaythai is growing up - gender parity at the amateur muaythai worlds!

Martine Micheletto Italy and Anaelle Angerville France 57kg
I mostly blog here about combat sports because muaythai is the sporting love of my life. There was a time when a woman doing muaythai was akin to being the circus freak but that's all changing, and this month I saw that in action at the muaythai worlds in Mexico.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What books on women in sport do you read?

Irish champions Deirdre Gogarty and Katie Taylor together PIC
Watching Katie Taylor power her way to another belt at the weekend sent me back to Malissa Smith's excellent book on the history of women's boxing. And then onto other books hiding on my shelves, and a list of books to buy or borrow.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bump, Bike and Baby - an Irish sportswoman's journey to motherhood

Sportswomen are different, that’s for sure. And when a mountain-running, marathoning sportswoman gets pregnant, she’s going to have some specific questions for the doctors. One of the many poignant incidents in Irishwoman Moire O’ Sullivan’s new book is when her GP tells her walking is OK during pregnancy. Walking really wasn’t going to cut it.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Ice-swimming in the Neva River, Russia with some tough women

That water is as cold as it looks  - a pool cut from ice on the Neva River in St Petersburg, Russia. Among the dedicated swimmers, I met Ranie Pearce who travelled from California to dive in during one of the coldest weeks of the winter.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dreaming and creating - the first Nigerian bobsled team at the Winter Olympics

In warmer countries like Ireland the Winter Olympics can slide under the radar, but who couldn't love the heart-warming story of the first Nigerian bobsled team?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Caradh O' Donovan switches to Karate for her Olympic dream.

National title, check. World title, check. Irish kickboxer Caradh O' Donovan looked around her and thought it was time for a new challenge. And with all the excitement around Karate's acceptance into the Olympic programme, what else would do? Would you, could you do it?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Under the Ropes - a muaythai fighter's journey

How many fights is a solid ambition? 50? 100? Why not 200? This the question American muaythai fighter Sylive Von Duuglas-Ittu asks herself as her career develops. 

This beautifully-shot video (by Simon Mulvany) captures her thoughts on that journey, up to fight number 191 she says when this is filming.