It's been a long wait for Gaelic Games athletes but for Dublin's Nicole Owens, the hiatus has been even longer.

The All-Ireland winning footballer had already been sidelined by a knee injury suffered last year before lockdown came into place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But now as restrictions ease, it's the start of another waiting game to see when she and her colleagues can return to action.

"I'm now nine months after doing my cruciate," the forward told RTÉ2fm's Game On during an in-depth chat about life on and off the pitch.

"It's the longest I haven't played football in all my life since I started.

"It's really odd because everything keeps changing day to day. Even with our club and with our county, there are plans in place and then two days later, there's an announcement and everything's changed.   


"So it's been very up and down but I think we're all looking forward to getting back and playing football regardless of the setup and how the Championship is going to plan out."

While she has had to rebuild her core fitness and the strength in her knee from home, Owens added that she "can't wait to get back into a real gym".

Owens also reflected on the process of coming out as Pride is marked in Ireland and across the globe.

"It does feel like quite a lot of time has passed since I was a teenager coming to terms with my sexuality and even the prospect of speaking to anyone about it, let alone speaking on national radio would have been completely foreign," she said.

"So I'm very happy with where I am now. It was something growing up as a teenager that I didn't accept personally.

"I had a lot of internalised stigma about my sexuality and I suppose I projected out onto other people the way I would have expected they would react and I sort of put up a wall around myself which there was no need to do."

On the overall landscape around LGBT rights in Ireland and the erosion of any sense of stigma, Owens added that many strides have been made since her teenage years.

"In the last 10 years since I was a teenager, a lot has changed and things like the Marriage Referendum five years ago was a real turning point for Irish society," she added.