Ahead of this weekends clash between England and Ireland, with the winner taking all in this years Women’s 6 Nations championship I spoke to Jenny Murphy about two of my favourite things food and sport.
If you don’t know who Jenny Murphy is, you’ve surely seen her bone-crunching tackle in the opening match of this years 6 Nations against Italy or will recognise her distinct curly locks. Jenny has been a member of both the Irish women’s rugby team in 15’s and 7’s for the last few years helping Ireland win their first 6 Nations and qualify for the World Cup in 2014. She is also a very accomplished gaelic footballer having represented at county level with Kildare. She even dabbled with camogie whilst playing GAA for a summer in Boston.
So what is your first and secondly favourite sporting memory?
The first vivid sporting memory I have was the 1999 Champions League Final, Man Utd. came back from behind to beat Bayern Munich in the dying minutes of the game. My uncle and I went absolutely ballistic in my Grans living room.
My favourite sporting memory was getting my first cap. I came off the bench against Italy, I still get a rush of adrenaline thinking about that moment when I stepped on the field.
What advice would you give to any young aspiring athlete in rugby?
At the end of the day you are your only limit. Work hard, keep your feet on the ground and continue to learn everyday.
What advice would you give to someone who was in a similar situation as yourself coming back from a serious injury or just dealing with a tough time in life or setback in their sport?
Focus on small goals and take it step by step. Acknowledge the little victories but also know that’s it’s OK if sometimes you take a backward step.
What emphasis do you put on food and diet relating to your performance or do you think food and diet has any importance for your performance?
It’s massively important. Correct diet gives me the fuel I need to perform to my best ability. Without the correct nutrition I wouldn’t be able to recover or gain muscle efficiently or effectively.
How do you find the time to plan and prepare meals or do you eat out every day?
I put aside an hour or two each week, normally on my day off, to plan or prep meals I plan to eat during the week. Sometimes it’s just making sure I have ingredients whilst other times I’ll cook something ahead of time so it’s ready to go.
My top tip is to freeze lentil dhals, which are very handy and they keep for months too. I enjoy cooking so an hour or two on my off days prepping the main bits of the meals can save you a lot of time in the long run. Chucking a quick but tasty salad only takes 5-10 minutes when you have the main part of your meal ready.
Give us some insight into your typical match day food?
It varies depending on kick off times. For example a 12pm kickoff, breakfast of porridge with honey and half a banana. Cup of coffee. Maybe a fruit juice or smoothie. Pancakes and lean bacon if I can manage it.
Pre match meal – I prefer to get the bulk of my carbs in the morning, I don’t like being too full getting on the bus to the match. So my meal would be lighter, chicken and pasta with some tomato based sauce. Beetroot drink (I’m not the biggest fan of the taste). Plenty of fluids.
Is there any food that you miss from home whilst travelling overseas for competitions or training?
I do enjoying trying the local foods so I don’t tend to miss any foods too much. However by the end of 2014 World Cup, I was seriously craving my mam’s mashed potato.
What is your favourite type of food to eat out or dish to cook?
Favourite dish to eat out would probably be sushi. My favourite dish to cook, Shakshuka.
What are your favourite places to eat out in Ireland?
Bunsen, Musashi, Brother Hubbard, Elephant and Castle, Ballymore Inn…to name a but a few.
Keep an eye out to see who’s next on the list for my monthly feature of “Let’s Talk Food & Sport with…”.