Ireland and Limerick’s Catholic Institute hockey star Róisín Upton is backing the new 20×20 campaign and believes women’s sport is moving in the right direction.
Originated by the Along Came a Spider agency and supported by Healthy Ireland, the campaign is driven by the Federation of Irish Sport in order to increase support, participation and change the perception of women’s sports nationwide by increasing audiences by 20% by the end of 2020.
In Ireland, there is a noticeable difference between the support and interest in mens sports versus women’s sports, but during the summer, it was all eyes on the Irish ladies hockey team who picked up silver medals at the World Cup in London which Upton played a great role in.
Speaking about her own female influence in her career, Róisín said: “For me growing up I was lucky to play with the Irish captain at the time, Eimear Cregan, but outside that I didn’t really have any female role models that showed me the way and who I could look up to and think ‘Oh she did that, I’d love to do that.’”
Having been part of a historic team at the World Cup and being thrown into the limelight as a sporting legend, Róisín is eager to set a good example for young players.
She explained: “I’ve always more of a do-er than a talker..I just do it and my actions speak louder. I’ll always encourage any of the local girls..to show them too, that if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
The campaign has taken social media by storm with trending hashtags such as #CantSeeCantBe – an initiative to increase spectatorship with the idea that ‘if she can’t see it, she can’t be it, – #20×20 and #ShowYourStripes.
“It goes much deeper than just hockey, it’s all sports for girls and initiatives like that are fantastic. So we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Róisín added.