I love being able to hit the ball as far as the lads and they hate it

Eimear Máirtín has had a remarkable career and it’s not over yet.

he Dublin primary school teacher was an underage Irish basketball international from 2004 until 2009 and represented Ireland at an Under 16 and two Under 18 European Championships.

She also played Super League and National League basketball with Trinity Meteors before returning to Gaelic Football to help the Dublin Senior Ladies win the All-
Ireland title in 2010.

She went to Loughborough University on Erasmus in 2012/13 and won the 2013 British University Championships (BUCS) in basketball and the Irish Basketball Intervarsities with UCD a few weeks later.

Not content with that, she started playing rugby with Railway Union in 2012/13, flying over and back from Loughborough for big games. She was the out-half when Railway won the All Ireland League Division 2 in 2014 and when she moved back to Ireland, she continued to play 15s with Railway and Rugby 7s with Ireland in 2013/2014.

She continued to play Super League and National League basketball with Trinity Meteors until 2020, when Covid hit, leading to early retirement.

Now 31, she scratches her competitive itch by playing tag rugby for Ireland and golf off nine at Stackstown and she’s determined to get that handicap down.

1 How’s your golf?

I usually go at it in summer, but for one reason or another, I haven’t been able to play as much as I’d like. In a word, it’s inconsistent.

2 How did you get started in the game?

My Mum and Dad play in Stackstown and Mum was a very good hockey player, so golf was the next step. Then my brother and sister and I followed, and while my sister didn’t really take to it, my brother and I loved it. When I was 13 or 14, I was playing basketball for Ireland and GAA and I left it. I couldn’t do everything, but I went back at 23 or 24 and have been going at it for the last few years.

3 Choose your weapon….Driver or putter? And why?

Driver. I am a big enough hitter and play a lot with the lads. I love being able to hit it as far as them and they hate it. So always the driver.

4 Links or parkland? Why?

I play a lot more parkland, but I play a bit of links and I love it. When you are a big hitter, it bounds on, so I would say links, even though I haven’t played a lot of it. Myself, my Mum and Dad and brother played Baltray there and loved it.

5 When were you happiest on the golf course?

I played in a qualifier for the JP McManus Pro-Am at Limerick Golf Club this year with Mouse Morris and Nicky English. So what a day out that was. Nicky English was always huge and I love horseracing, so it ticked all the boxes.

6 Who’s your sporting hero?

Andy McNally played for my basketball club, so she was someone who was doing it all – basketball for Ireland, soccer for Ireland and football for Dublin. Had she come along 25 years later, she’d be massive and on the Rachel Blackmore-type scale. It was cool at that age to see someone who could do it all.

7 Name a rival you especially admire and why.

I played a lot against the former rugby international Lindsay Peat when I played basketball for Trinity Meteors and she played for DCU Mercy. We were always marking each other, but there would have been a big size difference. I’m tiny for basketball but playing against someone like Lindsay, you have to step up. Then I played football with her. She was the best teammate and some craic. She is the friendliest person off the field, but as soon as that whistle blows, she’s a fierce competitor and you have to respect that.

8 What’s your golfing ambition? Do you have one?

I’d love to get down to a four or five handicap. And I’d love to play a scratch cup and give it a go. So getting the handicap down a bit more is the priority.

9 Name your dream fourball (they don’t have to be golfers). And name the venue.

I love how Shane Lowry plays the game and has a bit of craic. So Shane and Jacqui Hurley, who has achieved incredible things in sports media. She’s also back playing with Meteors and has taken up golf too. And then Ruby Walsh. I’d never beat him on a horse, but I’d have a chance on a golf course. The venue would be Carlow and that’s tactical because there are five par-fours for men that are par-fives for women and if you have a big drive, it definitely levels the playing field.

10 If you could change something about women’s sport what would it be?

I spent a year at Loughborough and won the BUCs and college basketball is really well respected. The club scene is where it’s at here and collegiate basketball is more an end-of-season thing. So with what Basketball Ireland have done with player pathways and the phenomenal talent coming through, I’d love to see a collegiate break where we can see these players coming through.

11 If I gave you a mulligan in your sporting career, what would it be?

In 2016 Meteors were in the national cup final against Glanmire in the Neptune Stadium in Cork and they were massive favourites. But while we got a run on them, they hit five or six three-pointers and got back in it and beat us. I’d love to have another crack at them that day.

12 If you had just one more round to play, where would it be? Don’t say Augusta National unless you absolutely must.

I was in Enniscrone recently, and while I didn’t play, I saw the golf course and I’d love to play there. Preferably in the summer! The views alone are spectacular.

13 What’s your favourite par three?

The seventh on the Middle Nine at Dun Laoghaire. It’s just 120 yards from the red tees, but it’s gorgeous to look at and a tough hole too with lots of places where you could get caught out with all the water. They’ve revamped it in recent years and it’s fantastic.

14 If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Doesn’t have to be about golf.

I am overly competitive, but I think that’s a good thing. But I’m tiny for basketball at only 5’3”, so if I were 5’8” or 5’9”, that would be handy.

15 What’s your most
treasured possession?

My grandad Jack is 103, and he bought this chess set I now have. All the pieces are based on Irish myths and legends. So the pawns are Vikings and Celts, and that’s lovely. Everyone comments on it. He played pitch and putt once, had a hole in one, and never played again. He said it was too easy!

16 If you could change
something about your golf, what would it be?

My putting. Coming from basketball and football where it is go, go, go, I haven’t got the patience for the putting. I need to get better at that. Maybe Pádraig Harrington’s new public putting green in Marlay Park can do wonders for my putting.

17 Who’s your favourite golfer of all time? Why?

Shane Lowry. We started some golf coaching in school and for someone like him to be on TV, he’s a great role model for kids. He takes it seriously, but he clearly loves to have fun. It’s great to see someone so down-to-earth who hasn’t forgotten where he comes from. He must be one of the biggest fans of Irish sport out there.

18 What’s your idea of
perfect happiness?

I have a group of 14 or 15 girls who grew up playing basketball together. We are booked in for a trip to Cheltenham next March. For me, a weekend away with some of my best pals at a sporting event, I don’t think it gets much better than that.

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