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Meet Irish National Athlete Sinead Loughran

Meet the newest member of our #STXfamily! Sinead Loughran plays for the Irish National Team and club Hermes, but didn't start focusing on field hockey until high school.

As we welcomed Sinead, we asked her to share her unique background, her #1 piece of advice and to compare how U.S. field hockey differs from hockey abroad.

Sinead hits the pitch with club Hermes during the 2015/16 season.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you've been playing, what you love about the sport and your current spot on the Irish National team.

I was a late starter to the game, as another sport (Gaeilic Football) was my primary sport when I was younger. I didn’t get serious about hockey until age 16 or so and fell in love with the challenge of playing the sport; the speed of the game, and the skill set it demands. I played at UNC in America and recently joined the Irish National Team in the last few months.

Sinead shared a throwback photo of herself playing for her high school hockey team.

What's been the highlight of your field hockey career so far?

Being asked to join the National Team was certainly an amazing moment, but participating in all of those NCAA Championships was also an incredible experience. It’s honestly hard to pinpoint a highlight, but beating Syracuse 6-1 in the NCAA Semi Finals was insane!

What equipment are you currently using and how does it enhance your style of play?

I’m using the Surgeon 700. It has a great feel and flexible hold, which helps me grasp the ball. This combination allows me to control my touch, and lets the ball rip when needed. It’s also extremely durable, which is crucial for my long and heavy seasons.

Sinead gets ready before a game with the Irish National Hockey Team and shows off her Surgeon 700 stick.

You've played hockey in the U.S. and now for the Ireland National Team. How is the game different in the two countries? 

There really isn’t a huge difference. If anything, the U.S. collegiate system focuses more on fitness and the mentality is slightly different. In Ireland, hockey is played out of pride and is a hobby. Some girls on my team might do weights at 6 a.m., head to work until 7 p.m., and then train from 8-10 p.m. That lifestyle demands a serious amount of dedication and commitment!

Team USA athlete Kelsey Kolojejchick and Sinead played together at UNC. Here they're at the 2012 Final Four Banquet.

You're also an accomplished golfer. How does playing more than one sport help you as an elite hockey player?

Oh I don’t know if I’m accomplished but I can hit the ball decently. I’ll be honest, the hand-eye coordination and the concept of hitting a ball with a stick are probably the only transferable skills. The two swings are actually very different. Hockey has completely ruined my golf swing, but when I connect well I can hit it quite far!

Tell us something people might not know about you.

I have two different colour eyes.

Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions? 

Generally, I like to eat the same thing before I play! I try to not have too many superstitions, because it can cause psychological instability before a game if something were to go wrong.

When you're not on the pitch or training, what do you like to do for fun?

I love good coffee and food! Walking my dog is also a daily ritual. In my group of friends we all work, so every so often we try meet up for “Tea and Chats”. I like getting out and about; also I’m quite an outdoors person.

If you could have dinner with 3 famous people, who would they be?

Muhammad Ali: Why not? He’s an absolute legend!

Amy Poehler: You know it would be great craic because she’s hilarious.

Sir David Attenborough: I’d literally listen to him talk about anything. He’s so interesting!

Finally, what advice do you have for young athletes?

I love the quote “the only disability in life is a bad attitude”. It speaks volumes! You can make light of any situation thrown at you. Embrace the challenges, be humble in the success, and never stop working hard. If you’re content and at peace with yourself, no one will shake you! Lastly, never be complacent! Good is the enemy of great.

Get to know more of our Team STX athletes, including Dutch field hockey star Jeroen Hertzberger here.