24 hours in the life of the dual player who didn't just play, but lit up two games in two days
If you were watching the Tipperary-Kilkenny game at the weekend you’d have probably asked the person beside you who’s that number eight for Tipp.
You’d have probably said something like, God she has some engine on her, some engine. If the person beside you knew their stuff, they wouldn’t have been long informing you that the number 8 was Roisín Howard from Cahir. It could only have been only a few seconds later then when they left you staring at the screen in disbelief, having bamboozled you with the fact that she had played a ladies football game for Tipp just 24 hours earlier.
It’s a fair feat, let’s not underplay it, for a GAA player to play two senior inter-county games in the space of two days but what Roisín Howard did at the weekend was something entirely different. Forget about the tight hamstrings, a tired head and even heavy legs for a second because if you watched Howard in Sunday's camogie league semi-final, one sleep after scoring 1-1 for the footballers against Westmeath, you would have seen a player so inspired that she mustn't have even stopped to give them a second's thought.
The irrepressible midfielder didn't so much show the face in Nowlan Park on Sunday as with an all-action display that would have reminded you of N'Golo Kante in the Champions League final, she dominated it.
It was one of Tipperary's best performances in years, as they outhurled All-Ireland champs Kilkenny for large periods and Howard was central to the movement with her energy and will to work.
Naturally, when speaking the Monday after her double-whammy of a weekend that saw Tipperary lose twice, Howard is disappointed and she’s sore but this dual star is far from defeated.
If you take her performances, it's a tremendous representation of not just the standards of play in the women's game, but also the standards of preparation. It was a hectic 24 hours, sure, but out there in Nowlan Park Howard showed that it was nothing she wasn't able for.
"I’d make sure I’d get enough meals into me, like I had three meals after the game on Saturday before I went to bed. I met up with a few of the football girls because I suppose we were really disappointed, do you know, getting relegated, it wasn’t easy, so just to kind of liven up the spirits a bit I met up with a few of them and just got an early night really and then into the recovery boots in the morning," Howard tells SportsJOE.
That's why, even after weekends as full-on as last Saturday and Sunday, Howard is still determined to keep that dual dream burning.
"Even when you move onto the second game, you don’t want to, do you know - people might be asking you how you feel and stuff and you don’t even really want to be making excuses for yourself before the match even starts because you’re already getting into a bad mindset, if you’re kind of thinking about a knock you got the day before so you’re kind of just really concentrating on, do you know, the match at hand and nearly pretending you didn’t play a match the day before."
"You just kind of suck it up a little bit and try to drive on."
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) November 6, 2020
Excuses don't do it for Howard, who, apart from the double-game weekends, says that playing both codes helps keep her fresh.
"I think it’s definitely a tough thing to do. I do enjoy it as I said like. I like the balance, do you know, if you’re not playing the best yourself in one, you have the other to counteract it. Same if the team isn’t going that well. But I do think, the demands of the game are gone up so much that I don’t know how many more years it’s going to last for..."
"I think it's a big relief really probably, and it probably removes the temptation to overtrain is that some of the trainings are on the same night so you just go to one and that’s it do you know. You just pick one, whatever one I suppose you weren’t at the last day! The double games are the most difficult part, but it’s not going too badly yet so I’ll keep it going for as long as I can anyway!"
You can watch our interview with the Tipperary player here.
How to not just play, but to light up two GAA games in 24 hours 🏐 🏑
Big feeds, recovery boots and a good night's sleep are the secret to @camogietipp and @TippLadiesFB dual star Roisín Howard's success 👊 🍽️ pic.twitter.com/9SDNrIt23a
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 15, 2021