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Stacey Flood Sees 'Endless Possibilities' As Olympic Qualification Nears

Stacey Flood was speaking as part of the 'Think of the Possibilities' campaign, which is part of Energia's future focused ethos. Energia is a company focused on renewable energy and innovation, who work to create more possibilities for our energy future.
By PJ Browne Updated
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Growing up, becoming a professional sportswoman wasn't on Stacey Flood's radar, and neither was being an Olympian.

For the past eight years, she has been the former, and the latter is now beginning to blip on her screen.

The 26-year-old Dubliner has been a contracted sevens rugby player since 2015. Now, at what is her and the team's third attempt to qualify for the Olympic Games, they are on the verge of having those tickets booked for Paris next year.

The Irish sevens team are currently fifth in the rankings, occupying one of the automatic qualifying spots.

2 April 2022; Stacey Flood of Ireland during the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match against France at Stade Ernest Wallon in Toulouse. Photo by Manuel Blondeau/Sportsfile

"We have put ourselves in a really good position," says Flood, speaking as part of Energia's Think of the Possibilities campaign.


"If you said to me at the start of the year, that we would be one tournament out and in a position to qualify for the Olympics, I probably wouldn't have believed you, and I probably would have thought we'd be going down to other routes.

"Growing up, I never saw it as a goal of mine. I always loved watching the Olympics, and I was infatuated by all the athletes and everything that was based around it, but I never played an Olympic sport.

"Then when I start playing at 16, 17, rugby still wasn't in the Olympics bracket. My dream growing up was usually just to play in Croke Park like any footballer.


"So then for it to shift in the last few years, to actually having the possibility of being an Olympian - I just think it's the pinnacle of sport.


"I know that it was a dream of Amee Leigh (Murphy-Crowe's) growing up to go to the Olympics. I'm sure for Beibhinn Parsons [it was too], she's like a phenomenal athlete, she probably could have gone to the Olympics in one or two sports.

"I think it's even more special to do it with a group of girls who you're friends with and really care about. That's what our team has, we really care for each other. I think it would mean everything to represent your country at an event like that."

25 June 2016; Stacey Flood of Ireland is tackled Arlete Goncalves, left, Catrina Ribeiro, centre, and Christina Ramos, right, of Portugal during the World Rugby Women's Sevens Olympic Repechage Pool C match between Ireland and Portugal at UCD Sports Centre in Belfield, Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The final tournament of the season is in Toulouse from May 12th - 14th. In between, the team will have a "tough" four-week training block beginning this week, "just to fine-tune things, fix things, improve and build on what we have been doing because we have had a really good season".


When they're not playing, the team usually trains on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with Wednesdays and weekends as recovery days. Mondays take in physio and rehab, followed by speed and skills work, a gym or HIIT session and maybe some time on the bike. Tuesdays and Fridays focus on pitch and gym sessions, and Thursdays normally have double pitch sessions. There are also meetings and education blocks in between.


The season began in Dubai in early December and has since taken in tournaments in Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Vancouver, and Hong Kong.

While players are "definitely not on a holiday" when they're abroad, Flood does occasionally get to play tourist. Sydney, and where they usually stay around Coogee Bay, is her favourite destination. She loves Dubai for the atmosphere around the tournament, while Vancouver - where they played in an indoor arena while it snowed outside - was a different experience to others.

"I can't hide the fact that you're you are travelling, seeing the world with a group of your friends and then you get to work hard with each other," says Flood.


"It's pretty full on when you're playing, but you do see the sights and enjoy it as well."

For two-day tournaments, they play three games a day, while in three-day events - like last month's one in Hong Kong - they face two games a day.

Following a match, players have a debrief with their management team, an ice bath and then eat. After that, they might have a nap - if they can - before the next game.

"You try not to keep your mind switched on for too long," says Flood.

"Try to switch off in any way you can if that's watching Netflix or if it's sleeping. Those gaps can be tough because they vary a lot. If it is the case that you have a longer gap, you might find yourself overthinking. It's a skill in itself to switch off."

25 February 2018; Kim Flood, left, and Michelle Claffey of Ireland following the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Wales at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Growing up, Flood's role model was her sister Kim who played football with Dublin and rugby for Ireland.

"I just had one person that I always looked up to in my sister, and that was like the female athlete I could see," says Flood.

"She went and played for Dublin, played for Ireland and I just wanted to follow in her footsteps.

"The possibility of young sportswomen coming up now and being able to see all of this improvement in women's sport [is great].

"It actually shows that the Olympics is a thing for Irish women, and playing in Croke Park is a thing for young footballers and rugby is a sport that can be played and you can actually have a career out of it and have a sustainable life.

"I'm a contracted player, but like, what is it going to look like in the future? It was never there before and now it's endless what the possibilities are."

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Brought to you by Energia

This article was brought to you in partnership with Energia, launching Energia's new campaign ‘Think of the possibilities'


Think of the Possibilities - Energia 

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