IT’S been a year since Valerie Mulcahy hung up her football boots, but that hasn’t stopped her promoting the sport she loves.
The former Cork footballer, who lives in Rochestown and teaches at Gaelcoláiste Mhuire, just agreed to become a brand ambassador for Sona Nutrition — the official broadcast sponsor of ladies Gaelic football coverage on TG4.
“Hopefully, it’ll create more awareness for ladies football,” she said.
Valerie felt it was a good partnership; she knows too well the importance of encouraging Ireland’s sportswomen to future proof their health for now and the future, and Sona is Ireland’s leading provider of vitamins and nutritional supplements.
“It’s hugely important to try to optimise your health through healthy exercise and correct diet, so anything you can do has a positive effect. It’s an Irish brand, a reputable brand and a family run business and they are things that I’d been drawn to myself.
“And it’s good as well because they’ve come on board as broadcast sponsor — that gives great exposure to the game and so I thought it was an easy thing to say yes to.”
Valerie gave up professional football in April last year, something she’s still getting used to.
“I do miss elements of it, but that was to be expected, it’s an adjustment alright, especially when it’s been such a huge part of my life for so long, but I’m still in touch with people. I went to the League final recently and the team is changing — the squad is much younger and the people I started playing with have also retired or taken time out — that’s life, people change, we changes roles and positions and people move on.
We’ve passed on the baton. It is a different set-up to what it was, in terms of personnel. There’s a posse of us there who still do our best to meet up.”
While she doesn’t have a rigorous training regime to stick to anymore, Valerie likes to keep active for her physical and mental health.
“I go to the gym and do a bit of swimming and cycling and I’d always been inclined to be active, but it is hard to reach those same heights when you’re not training.
“It’s important for physical fitness and mental health, to get the dopamine and when you’re active and exercising it’s important for your mental health and for the release.”
The maths and PE teacher also coaches her school’s football team.
“I’m training the school team, we made the Munster final and the girls did very well; we unfortunately lost but, such is sport,’ she said.
“And I’m still involved with the WGPA — The Women’s Gaelic Players Association — working to make things better for players.”
With school finishing up soon for summer, Valerie has two-and-a-half months of freedom ahead, so a second honeymoon is on the cards for herself and her wife Meg.
“There are definitely pros and cons (to being retired); if I was training I wouldn’t be able to go travelling,” she said.
“I’m planning to do a trip around Europe in a campervan so I’m really looking forward to doing that. We’ve an exciting adventure ahead of us so we’ll get to see a bit of the world and have some fun.”
The pair married in June, 2015.
“There’s an element of security to it (marriage) and a nice commitment to each other. It’s wonderful.”
Next month they will celebrate two years as Mrs and Mrs.
“It (the wedding) was in season so we had a ‘mini-moon’ in Kerry.
“Last year, then, because I was retired, we were able to go to Spain. So this is the honeymoon part two!”
The couple will spend time in France and Spain, and Valerie will do most of the driving.
“In Spain we’d like to see Sitges, outside Barcelona, and San Sebastian as well.
“We’ll be driving through France to get to those places, so well be hoping to stop in places like Saint Tropez and Biarritz, too.
“A lot of people have suggested different things, so we’ll make our way down and we have plenty to do.”
Between planning their trip, teaching, coaching, being involved with the WGPA, and helping Meg out with her dance school ‘Plan Be Movement Studio’, Valerie’s kept busy and now she has big plans for her role with Sona.
“It’s very exciting to be their brand ambassador. We’re coming together with some ideas — I’m going to mould that role and discuss a few things we can do to promote the brand and ladies football at the same time.
“There’ll be an event or two done around ladies football matches and we’re working towards doing something on All Ireland final day.”
For more see see www.sona.ie