Annalise Murphy is back in training in preparation for competition in the Netherlands in May. Picture: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

ANNALISE Murphy has spoken about the need for more encouragement to be given to young girls looking to take up sport.
The Rathfarnham native took home Ireland’s first Olympic medal in sailing since 1980 when she grabbed silver at the Games in Rio last year and is now gearing up for her next challenges.
She was speaking at the third annual ‘Support Her Sport’ conference at Croke Park in recognition of International Women’s Day last Tuesday.
27-year-old Murphy has returned to intense training in preparation for her return to competitive action in a competition in the Netherlands this May, and has also recently being announced as this year’s grand marshal at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin.
Murphy comes from a sporting background with her mother having represented Ireland at the 1988 Games in Seoul, and she believes parents are vital in convincing kids, especially girls, to stay involved in sport.
“I guess I have been very lucky that I grew up in a sporting family, it was a big part of our lives and we tried every kind of sport.
“We weren’t particularly good at it but having family encouragement and my Mum driving me around to hockey matches or tennis even though I wasn’t great at them, was a really big driver in me being involved in sport the whole way through my childhood.”
Despite the amount of hard work that has gone into growing female sport in Ireland, a recent survey revealed that 74% of 17 to 24-year-olds have little or no interest in sport.
“That actually happened to a lot of my really good friends when they were getting towards the end of secondary school.
“They stopped playing sport because they didn’t want to be sweaty going into class afterwards or saying they were just going to study each day instead.
“It’s about how to get that age group to realise it is about doing sport to have fun. You don’t have to be on the most competitive team because it is about socialising with other people.”
Murphy also believes that there are big differences between boys and girls when it comes to sport.
“My sister coaches the kids and they actually love her a lot more than the male coaches because she understands a bit more and she is really good at encouraging the younger girls.
“Boys will be a lot more confident where they will be ‘yeah why can’t I do that’, whereas girls will be more like ‘I’m not perfect so maybe I shouldn’t do this’. It is about trying to change that mentality.
“There are so many opportunities in female sport if you want to get to the top and we have the facilities now in Ireland to get to that level.”

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