Let’s Talk Food & Sport with … Gráinne Dwyer

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As the Basketball Ireland Women’s Superleague comes to a close this weekend with Ambassador UCC Glanmire facing off against Courtyard Liffey Celtics, I caught up with Glanmire star Gráinne Dwyer about all things food and sport.20170329_191207-01Fellow Tipperary woman Gráinne hails from Thurles and first showed her class by lighting up the Irish school’s basketball scene whilst representing Presentation Thurles. Based in Cork, she competes in the national super league and cup with Glanmire winning four senior cup titles and two MVP awards in previous finals. Glanmire are also vying for their fourth consecutive super league title this weekend in a repeat of this years cup final against Liffey Celtics. On the international scene, Gráinne has competed with the traditional 5v5 team at both underage and senior level and in 2014 on the 3v3 team alongside her sister Niamh qualifying for the European Olympic finals.

Tell us about your first or favourite sporting memory?

Winning the 2013 cup final against UL Huskies in overtime.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring athlete in your sport?

Work hard! You are not entitled to anything, you have to earn it.20170329_191128
What advice would you give to someone who was dealing with a tough time in their life or a setback in their sport?
I find sport a way to escape from reality and  it helps that I love and enjoy it. Sport is my happy place in life.
As we all know research has shown loads of benefits from sport both physically and mentally. I think someone dealing with a tough time should find their happy place and have a good support system around them. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

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?

In the last few years I definitely have begun to watch what I eat a lot more. Monday to Saturday I’m usually pretty good, eating as healthily as possible but once we play on a Saturday evening I like to eat what I want. I have see an noticeable change in my energy levels since making small changes to my diet.

How do you find the time to plan and prepare meals or do you eat out every day whilst juggling a career in banking and playing with one of the top ranked basketball teams in Ireland?

Food prep is a killer for me ( I always forget to defrost my meat from the freezer!!). However, I try to bring my dinner to work everyday . When preparing meals, I usually prep for two days at a time. I’m not the best cook in the world so what I eat is very basic and would be similar to your typical Irish dinner of meat, chicken or fish, vegetables with sweet potatoes substituted for regular potatoes.
I find it can be quite difficult at times finding time to prep food as I could leave the house at 9:30am and not get home till 11:00pm. Starting is the highest part but once you do it only takes 30 minutes to get sorted and it’s so beneficial to your health and performance.20170329_191150
 Give us some insight into your typical match day food?
I like to eat light on match days, I feel there is nothing worse than feeling like lead playing a game. I eat 4-5 hours before my games and I tend to eat scrambled eggs with avocado, tomatoes and salmon. If we are on the road travelling to a game, I eat the same for my brunch and just have a snack like some fruit, a banana or orange.

What is your favourite type of food to eat or dish to cook?

I love a good burger you just can’t beat it! If I was to cook something nice for myself it would have to be fillet steak, homemade chips, fried mushrooms and onions with a pepper or mushroom sauce.

When travelling abroad to represent Ireland in competitions, is there any food you miss?

I love my food and I’m not overly picky so when we travel away I don’t really miss anything. Our meals are nearly always provided and are largely pasta based with an option of meat, fish or vegetables, so I’m usually pretty happy.20170329_191048
 What are your favourite places to eat out in Ireland?
I live in Cork so when I eat out I love to go to Quinlan’s seafood bar on Prince’s street. I was also a big fan of the tapas menu that used to be on offer in Il Padrino. I’m also a big fan of the set menu in Napoli, Monkstown – an Italian style delicatessen that’s really cool and the food is unreal. Places like Sober Lane, SoHo and Son of a Bun are great for pub grub and a pint.