In her new celebration of Irish sporting talent, Girls Play Too: Book 2, RTE´'s Jacqui Hurley tells the real-life stories of women who have proved that gender is not a barrier to success.
Spoilt for choice, Jacqui's selection includes some of the most successful athletes to ever grace a GAA pitch, pioneering horse-racing jockeys, elite figures from the athletics circuit, stalwarts of the Irish football team, members of the hugely successful hockey team, and a host of figures who are excelling in their chosen codes.
To celebrate the release of Girls Play Too: Book 2, we revisit this memorable entry from Book 1...
Once there was a girl called Kellie, who was always getting into trouble. She never did her homework and was sent for detention after school nearly every day. By the time she was fourteen, Kellie had decided school just wasn't for her and she left.
Kellie knew she needed discipline and she thought maybe boxing would be good for her. But no club would take her. They told her 'girls don’t box’. But Kellie kept going back and eventually, when she was sixteen, Corinthians Boxing Club in Dublin took a chance on her.
Coaches could see Kellie had talent but she had no self-confidence. It was only when she won a silver medal at the World Championships in 2016 that Kellie really started believing in herself. Kellie thought when she came back to Ireland with a world silver medal, everyone else would believe in her, too.
One day she was reading and found a quote, ‘Tough times never last, but tough people do.’ Kellie knew she was tough and decided it was time to prove it to herself and to everyone else. She changed her whole lifestyle and trained every single day.
Watch: Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington returns home
When she went back to the World Championships two years later, Kellie was a different boxer. The lightweight gold medal final was one of the toughest fights of Kellie’s career and she knew it was going to be difcult for the judges to decide the winner.
She had lost fights like this before and she was nervous it was going to happen again. Kellie could hardly believe it when the referee raised her right arm and announced her as the winner!
In that moment, she thought of everything she had been through and how people told her she would never make anything of her life.
As she stood on the podium, with a gold medal around her neck, she cried tears of joy. Against all odds, Kellie turned her life around to become a world champion.
Girls Play Too: Book 2 Jacqui Hurley (published by Merrion Press) is out now.