Peat brings the heat to Irish rugby fifteen

by Gazette Reporter

Artane’s Lindsay Peat has put her career on hold in order to throw everything she has at a once-in-a-lifetime shot at winning a Rugby World Cup title in her home town.
Indeed, it’s an opportunity Peat wouldn’t even have contemplated as, aged 35, she wound down her GAA career with Parnells and Dublin, one that had seen her typically decorated at all levels.
After welcoming baby Barra into the world with wife Claire late in 2015, Peat was suddenly thrust into the world of test rugby and has scarcely had time to look back since.
“I spoke to my wife and she said, ‘it’s Ireland calling and you can’t say no’,” she told reporters at the AIG Heroes event at Bluebell Community College.
“We gave it a chance and thankfully I’ve settled in well and people have had great patience with me and invested so much time.
“You only get one chance to play in the World Cup so you just have to give it everything. I’ve cut down my days [at work] to two days a week to try and give it my full commitment.
“At the minute, I’m working in the HSE and I’ve an 18-month-old, so I stay at home three days a week and try and balance family life and training. Work are very good.”
Illustrating her schedule, she said: “From last night finishing at 8.30, doing a bit of passing ourselves after, I didn’t get home until nine, had dinner, got showered, and then I was back up at 5.15 this morning.
“To recover and be at the level you can be to get the best out of that gym, that’s where the imbalance is [with fully-professional sides like England].”
While the IRFU has a noted policy of identifying players across sports who have the potential to prosper in rugby, Peat was unusual in that she had a long and successful career already behind her.
She had been an underage soccer international, had captained her country in basketball and was part of the Dublin football squad that won the 2010 All-Ireland Championship before turning her hand to the oval ball.
She had moved to south Dublin and retired from active GAA in 2015 when she accepted a long-extended invitation to try her hand at rugby with the Railway Union club in Sandymount.
Within months, she had been fast-tracked into Tom Tierney’s test side and made her debut as a sub in a November international against England at the Stoop.
“When I played in the Stoop it was my eighth ever rugby match. It’s ridiculous to say.
“Tom said, ‘I’ve thrown you in at the deep end, you’ve had a steep learning curve, and to be honest I’m going to throw you in at the deep end again in the Six Nations.’”
The impetus had come from the trainer Graham Byrne – who has been credited as one of the main factors in Dundalk FC’s incredible succcess in recent years – but not even he could have predicted how seamlessly she’d take to the game.
“We had a guy, Graham Byrne, who’s worked with Dundalk – he’s their S&C [strength and conditioning coach].
“He was our basketball S&C and his cousin is Shirley Corcoran who is director of rugby and player with Railway Union.
“For two years, Shirley was like, ‘please come down, Graham recommended you to give it a go,’ and at the time I was living in the northside.
“I was totally immersed in what I was doing: I was back in college’ I was trying to win an O’Connor Cup.
“When we did eventually move to Dundrum, I was too loyal – I wasn’t going to leave Parnells or go play with any other basketball clubs.”

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