Ireland captain Caroline O’Hanlon: Sport puts pressure of being a doctor in perspective

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Ireland captain Caroline O’Hanlon admits her career as a doctor helps put sport into perspective and the pressure she feels on the court is so much different to those associated with work.

The 34-year-old juggles not only her commitments with the national side but also those to her Gaelic football roots playing for Armagh and her obligation to the medical profession.

On the eve of the Women’s World Cup in Liverpool, O’Hanlon will at least be able to put thoughts of work to the back of her mind as she tackles a different kind of stress test.

“Obviously you can be dealing with things that can be life or death at work so naturally that is so much more significant and puts sport in perspective,” she told PA.

“But it is a different type of pressure and the thing I find most difficult is trying to fit things in, when you feel you are being pulled at different times and things are out of your control.

“Trying to fit the things in and trying to give the same commitment to everything can be difficult and because you don’t have the control over that it can be stressful and that is what I find the hardest bit.

“But particularly with my job I find sport helpful because if you’ve had a stressful day at work when you go to training, because of the level I play at, I have to be fully engaged in that so you have to park whatever happened at work there.

“Peers of mine (at work) when I was starting out struggled with switching off when they get home and struggled with the pressure of it.”

The pressure O’Hanlon and her team-mates face in Liverpool comes in the form of challenging for a top-six place from a group which contains world number ones Australia.

“We missed out on qualification for the last World Cup so it feels like a long time since we’ve been part of it,” O’Hanlon added.

“We are sitting eighth in the world and our target would be to break into the top six.

“That will be difficult but that is the progress we’re trying to make and we feel we have the talent and depth of squad to do that.”


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