Interview with Hannah McLoughlin
27th July, 2023
Davy brand ambassador Hannah McLoughlin had her skills put to the test as she was guided through the green at the Grange Golf Course, accompanied by fellow Davy brand ambassador, Leona Maguire. We caught up with Hannah after to discuss her journey to the Olympics, some invaluable advice, and the importance of role models for the younger generation.
How did it feel stepping out on the course with one of Ireland's finest golfers? What have you taken away from the experience?
Playing with someone who is the best in their field was certainly humbling, but also a privilege. Leona makes it look so easy! I learned that not all sporting attributes translate into golf - the driver needs work!
You'll have to return the favour and get Leona onto the hockey pitch next!
Yes! I can't wait to get her onto a hockey pitch.
Experiencing the honour of being on the Irish Olympic team and wearing the Irish colours while challenging yourself against the world's best athletes must have been unforgettable. Could you provide us with a glimpse into that journey?
It is strange, I don't think of my journey in those terms. You always stay focused on competing against your own best, and then a moment comes along, the curtain goes back, and you realise you are on a world stage. Then the head goes down and you get back into the game and focus on your own processes.
The journey from watching the team qualify from the stands in 2019 to then playing on the pitch in Tokyo is still a journey that is a challenge to put into words. It is hard to recognise the enormity of a situation that you have been consumed by for so long. I have been chasing the Olympics since I saw my first hockey game. I have always been very competitive so as soon as I decided hockey was for me, I wanted to go to the top.
I am so proud not only to represent the island of Ireland, but also to represent myself, my family, and the opportunities that any young girl or boy can go after.
What single piece of career advice do you consider the most impactful and essential? How has embracing that advice transformed your career path and contributed to your accomplishments?
Stay in each and every moment, look after each and every day in its own right, and achieve daily goals - the long-term ones will look after themselves. Don't worry about what tomorrow may or may not bring.
I always try to remind myself that there are three states in life: the past, the present, and the future. We are what we repeatedly do, and we can only do in the present so stop spending time debating the past or anticipating the future.
The difference between average and excellent is attention to detail.
Throughout your hockey journey with the Ireland team, have you discovered any particular locations that hold a special place in your heart for playing? What makes these places stand out and what is it about them that resonates with you?
No corner of the world beats playing in front of a sea of green on home turf!
Is there a specific reason that you wear the number 7 for Ireland? Does it hold any special meaning for you or your playing career?
I was number 7 in Tokyo, but my playing jersey is number 10 for every other match. Number 7 will be important to me as it was my Olympic number, but I have never had a major attachment to my jersey number.
You have said previously that seeing Ireland's women's team play for the first time when you were in secondary school had a big impact on your desire to put on the green jersey. How important is it for young girls to have role models, and how does it feel to now be a role model yourself?
I think it is the most impactful thing ever, you catch people when their dreams are in motion and are unfolding - that is impactful. Visualisation is more powerful than any quote. Role models do not only impact boys and girls in their sport, but in their whole life.
I never regard myself as a role model as I still spend more time looking up to my role models! I enjoy coaching young boys' and girls' hockey and showing them of what they are capable. Helping someone else on their journey will enhance yours all the more.
Reflecting on your own journey in hockey, what advice would you give to young players who are just starting to pursue their passion for the sport? Are there any crucial principles or values that you believe are essential for their growth and long-term success?
- Stay in each and every moment, look after each and every day in its own right, and achieve daily goals - the long-term ones will look after themselves. Don't worry about what tomorrow may or may not bring.
- Say yes to every opportunity. Don't think of things in terms of opportunity cost. I used to think as an athlete you can't do everything. I stand corrected; it just can't all be done in the same day - trust me, I have tried.
- Believe. Believe. Believe. There will be days where you suffer imposter syndrome, where you think the goals are too high, the challenges too much, and that you will never get there. Embrace those days, because if it feels easy all the time, that's called your comfort zone, and that didn't get you here. Go back to points 1 and 2 - Rome wasn't built in a day.
- Only ever compete against yourself, against your own goals - everyone else will look after their own.
- Most importantly: enjoy it. Take the time occassionally to stop and recognise the journey you are on.
Be sure to follow Hannah on her journey in the European Championships this August.
WARNING: The opinions expressed in this interview are the views of the interviewee and do not reflect the views and opinions of Davy.