The Road to Texas....

Lady Lazarus - London Rockin' Rollers

Lady's photo courtesy of Dave McAleavy -

Having just finished university, I thought I’d have a break from writing for a while, but as most of us know, any spare time we have is quickly filled with derby related goodness. So here I find myself attempting to write my first ever article and it’s really given me time to reflect and realise how far I have come personally in this sport.

Like so many others, I could write a whole essay on why this sport has been so good for me and how it has changed my life in so many positive ways, but we’ll focus on my derby career highlight to date which was being selected for the Team Ireland Training Squad.

I bought my spectator ticket for the Blood and Thunder World Cup the day they went on sale with no thought as to how exactly I was planning on affording to get there; actually playing out there was the furthest thought from my mind and I would have laughed at anyone even suggesting it. (Can you tell self-deprecation and confidence issues are something I have ongoing trouble with?! That’s a WHOLE ‘nother article…)

But then I received a message from a friend over in Ireland about the upcoming tryouts and “Don’t be so ridiculous” gradually turned into “Why the hell not?”.  If anything, it was a good excuse to get back over to Ireland which I like to do as much as possible.

I was born and raised in London by an English father and an Irish mother. It wasn’t actually until I was in my early 20’s that I went over to Ireland for the first time, but I knew straight away one day I’d move over there. I know there was some controversy over some World Cup skaters and their nationality verses their place of residence, but to be honest it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. They say home is where the heart is, well mine is on the Emerald Isle.

I figured I had nothing to lose; it’s better to try and fail then never try at all right?  So, after some discussions with the husband and dealing with childcare, off I went to Dublin for the tryouts. I can honestly say it was one of the most nerve wracking experiences for me on skates ever. I suddenly realised how much I wanted this, how proud my mum would have been to see me skate for Ireland (sadly, she passed away in 2011 and never got to see me skate despite wanting to). There were LOTS of people there, in my eyes every single one of them better than me. There were jammers who I admired and blockers that had laid me out flat in the past, but I soon came to notice I wasn’t the only one feeling that way and the weekend ended up being so much fun! I’d like to say I performed awesomely and came away secure in the knowledge that a spot on the training squad was mine, but as usual, all I could remember were all the things I thought I had done wrong. 

Still, I must have done something right because a couple of weeks later, the email arrived to say I had made it. I cried so hard my husband thought the opposite news had come through, then the tears stopped and I think I grinned like the Cheshire cat for three days straight. Following that, came the realisation of what I had signed up for. My poor long-suffering better half was already feeling like more of a babysitter than a husband just with my home league commitments; I was torn between the guilt I felt at leaving my family even more often and the somewhat selfish desire to fulfil this ambition of skating nationally. Not to mention, the fact I was still undertaking my nursing degree which consumed so much of my time. 

Thankfully, my husband has continued to back me 100% in everything I want to do with my life and resigned himself to more weekends alone. I can’t even begin to explain how I managed to fit in completing my nursing degree, working the 12 hour days, maintaining my attendance with my home league, taking care of the house and family as well as being selected for the training squad, but somehow I did. So now, here I am as part of the Team Ireland squad and very proud of it. As clichéd as it sounds, they really are a great bunch of girls. The hospitality toward those of us who have to travel long distances has been overwhelming and I never need to worry about finding money for hotels or getting lost on my way to and from airports. Currently, there are 32 of us on the training squad and we’re getting ready to play our first bouts against Team Wales and Team West Indies next month which should be interesting as I have fellow London Rockin’ Rollers on both teams!  It’s so exciting to be bouting under the Team Ireland banner, in fact my dad who has never shown any interest in Derby until this all happened is coming to watch me play for the first time. My only goal for this bout will be to know I’ve tried my best and to make my mum proud.

The final 20 selected to play in the World Cup is yet to be determined. Will I make it? Who knows? I’d be lying if I said I’d wouldn't be disappointed if I didn’t, but there is such a high calibre of skaters, I won’t beat myself up too much if I don’t. Just being picked as part of the training squad feels like such a huge achievement and it’s something I’ll be telling the grandchildren about with great pride. (Actually I pretty much tell everyone I meet). If I don’t make it? Well, I still have that spectator ticket so you’ll see me trackside cheering on my girls with a drink in hand. It’s the Irish way after all…..

Don't forget you can help Team Ireland get to Dallas at

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