By Pat Costello
Mary Hulgraine, Kildare ladies All Ireland winning goalkeeper, could always be described as brave whether it was heading to the US on a basketball scholarship a 17, recovering from a severe leg injury over there and then changing from her Maths degree to setting up her own gyn in Sallins and then expanding it during the Covid-19 restrictions of 2020. Compound, her Training and Recovery facility is now situated on the Green Road in Newbridge on the edge of the Curragh which she runs with intern, Niall Hurley Lynch, the Moorefield player and Wicklow ladies Strength and Conditioning Coach.
On Wednesday last she launched the online Lockdown Revolution Challenge a Monday to Friday eight-week programme, with online workouts, Face Book Group and Community, weekly check-ins and meal plans. “We ask participants to put their heads down for the eight weeks, work hard, to keep focused. It has just has taken off and craic has been brilliant. I have created a connection through an online community where people can still interact, can still talk, and it’s very proactive” Mary tells us enthusiastically.
“People usually want to go to a gym to make a change and I want me to help them do that. One of my favourite quotes is so powerful, “nothing changes if nothing changes”.
“Physical exercise is important. We need to keep fit, need to keep healthy and the social connections that you get interacting on line or physically in a gym has massive health benefits. It lowers anxiety depression levels. This year probably more that ever mental health issues are gone through the roof People need to feel a part of something. They need that connection with each other. Connection is a core human need whether socially through a screen or whether it’s in a gym it’s so important to keep us going at the moment,” the All Ireland winning goalkeeper explains.
Mary Hulgraine uses her experiences while injured on the Basketball Scholarship in the United States to assist people in her gym. “It was probably the lowest I have ever been. I know I was abroad, away from home, over on a scholarship just to play basketball and that was taken from me. Sport was my outlet for how I dealt with life and my outlet was taken from me so I struggled bigtime while I was over there and I probably didn’t realise it at the time.”
“When people come in to my gym, I make them feel welcome and when they leave, I want them to leave with a smile even if they haven’t done well in the workout. No one will come into my gym and leave feeling worse. I’m probably lucky that I could put my business on line but people are struggling out there and are completely out of business, “she adds.
From her sport point of view Mary Hulgraine doesn’t believe in constantly looking back at Kildare’s All Ireland success in 2016. “All we have is the now; the past is the past. “Hopefully this year or next year we can bring more All Irelands to Kildare. I think we will have some good years ahead of us,” Mary promises.
“It was a really tough loss to Laois, that one hit hard and it’s still not sitting well but I think it will make us stronger and hungrier for 2021,” she says. There are not too many of us old timers left but you have this wave of energy coming in of youth. Players like, Nessa Dooley, Roisin Byrne so skillful, so talented and all the players willing to work hard.”
The goalkeeper is also delighted that Daniel Moynihan and his Team have been retained for another year. “I really enjoyed my football last year; the structure the boys brought in very professional structure and anything we needed we got.
Looking forward to 2021 then? “In business I look forward to helping as many people that I can as that’s what I love doing, that’s why I set up the gym. I want to get some silverware back to the Lilywhites. I live a simple life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I live on Curragh with three dogs, a business, a beautiful home and family. Life can’t get any better for me at the moment,” Mary