Oliva Gibson on falling in love with sport again through Passage club

Gifted Mayfield native walked away from the game earlier this year before getting back to her best at local level
Oliva Gibson on falling in love with sport again through Passage club

Celebrations for Passage after a first-half goal from Olivia Gibson gave Passage United the lead after a wonderful strike. Picture: Larry Cummins.

A CHANGE is as good as a rest.

This certainly proved to be the case for Passage soccer player Olivia Gibson.

Last weekend, she helped her side to lift the Kevin Barry Cup with a win over Greenwood with Gibson scoring two goals in the final.

Gibson had played senior National League with Limerick side Treaty United just a few months back but with many obstacles put in her may, she chose to walk away from soccer in April.

A waste of talent many said and eventually with the persistence of her ever-supporting mother Judy, she decided to return with her former club Passage.

It was quite a transition from National League back to local soccer.

“It felt great to be back playing in a Cork women’s soccer final and to be surrounded by great girls and fantastic coaches. “To score two goals just topped it off,” Gibson said.

“I finished up with Treaty in April, it was during my oral Leaving Cert exams and I felt I couldn’t give 100% of myself to soccer so it wouldn’t have been fair on the girls. I had the stress of the Leaving Cert and my youngest brother was diagnosed with a serious illness back in November so my mam was travelling very frequently up and down to Crumlin Hospital with him. 

It just felt like I had to give up soccer because my head and my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

It was nothing against Limerick-based Treaty United.

“They’re a great team with some fantastic girls in it but the timing was just wrong for me.

“Once my Leaving Cert was over, I started working as an event steward at all the concerts all over the country during the summer and slowly but surely I felt myself coming back together again.

“When Tina Murphy of Passage contacted my mam about me playing it actually took me a few weeks to reach a decision because I felt maybe what if I wasn’t any good at soccer anymore. My mam convinced me to give it a go and to be fair it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

“I felt if I was going to play soccer anywhere Passage would be the place that I would go because I loved my time previous with the girls and the coaches and I figured it would be the best place for me to go to find my love for soccer again.”

Picture: Larry Cummins.
Picture: Larry Cummins.

Going from National League to First Division in Cork was a big enough drop but being happy was the most important thing for the Mayfield girl.

“I went back to Passage after I was finished my Leaving Cert and I played seven games with them including two cup games because I wanted to see if I would start to enjoy my soccer again. 

"It worked out to be a great decision made with the help of my coaches Tina and Bird [John Murphy]. They really helped me to come back to myself because I was in a dark place for a while.

“A few months back I believed that my playing days were over, but I feel like soccer has been my saviour.

“I’m loving being part of a team again, playing games surrounded by fantastic coaches and I really am delighted that I chose Passage to go back to playing soccer again.

“It has really helped me to find the love in soccer and life again.

“When I finished with Treaty I genuinely was 100% sure that was I was done with soccer.

“But when you have a mother like mine that constantly wants to push you to be your best and tried her best to convince me to not throw away a God-given talent, I eventually gave in when the opportunity to join Passage came up.

“My mam figured if I started enjoying soccer again then I would be more capable of making a decision of whether to carry on soccer or quit for good.


“I’m in a really happy place at the moment with soccer and I’m not sure where it’s going to lead me but time will tell and I’m excited for the future at last.

“To be honest, I’m just taking it one day at a time, I’m going to do trials in the FAI ETB soccer course in Carrigaline studying sports and recreation and I’m hoping to gain confidence and skill on this course and that should help me make a decision on where I will be next season. Maybe I might play soccer with Passage for another season and keep gaining my confidence back and developing as a player, who knows, time will only tell.”

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