Our feature this week is on Derry City LFC’s own midfield enforcer, Coral Lapsley.
Coral’s dedication to sport is unrivalled; she makes tremendous sacrifice to juggle her multi-sport participation & her work commitments.
Coral currently completes in no less than 3 sports, actively participating in football, rugby & hockey.
Coral, who currently works as a Research Associate at the University of Ulster, initially got involved with football at the age of 9 when a coach from Maiden City Soccer put on sessions at her primary school. This ignited her love for football stating “I loved it and played every chance I got.”
After moving to Australia, Coral joined her first football team, Balcatta Soccer Club. At the age of 15 Coral was selected to represent Western Australia in the nationals in Sydney. She openly rates this experience as one of her greatest achievements in football. Coral then returned home to Ireland joining Institute Football Club.
Upon her return to Derry, Coral decided to take up hockey, lining out for her school team & for Priorians Hockey Club. She had great success during her time playing hockey at school winning the Ulster Schools Cup before finishing second in the All Ireland Schools Cup in Dublin.
She also decided to try her hand at rugby after finding out about a beginner’s ladies team at City of Derry Rugby Club.
After school, Coral moved to England to attend university where she continued to play hockey, which Coral says was a huge part of a ‘very positive university experience.’
The Derry native then returned home to carry out a PhD and was also able to pick up all her sports again – including joining Derry City FC.
Coral feels she has learned a lot from her engagement in multi-sport in a variety of contexts. Not only has she developed a vast arsenal of fundamental skills that are transferable from one sport to the next but she has also developed key qualities that she believes can help her strive both on and off the field.
She feels one of the most significant things she has learned is the importance of team work.
“Teamwork, not giving up and the desire to work hard are all skills you can learn on the sports field which you can use in everything else you do.” Lapsley says.
When asked who has been an influence on your sporting career Coral cites that her parents played a vital role “I have an older sister and a younger brother who were also encouraged and supported at an early age by our parents to take part in and enjoy various sporting activities. This is where my love of sport first began.”
“Claire Molloy, Ireland rugby international, is a great role model and is one who works incredibly hard to manage an international rugby career and her career as an A&E doctor.”
Coral also recalls how inspiring it was to watch the Ireland Women’s Hockey team in the recent 2018 World Cup, ‘It was amazing to watch the Irish team defy the odds and play with such passion to come second in the 2018 World Cup. The Nations support and the media coverage for the players around that time was fantastic.’
‘I think there are many great female role models in sport but unfortunately we don’t hear enough about their success. I believe schools can work with local clubs to provide opportunities for girls to try new sports. There are opportunities for female athletes to travel or further their education through sports scholarships, something clubs should be striving to provide.’
Coral is a vital asset to Derry City Football Club, not only through her consistent on the field performances but also significantly due to how she contributes and carries herself off the field.
Coral is a massive personality around the changing room & often goes above and beyond for her team mates sacrificing greatly for the common cause. Coral can often be found in the gym during unsociable hours pushing herself through gruelling workouts in order to gain any advantage over her opponents.
A fantastic role model for any girl both young and old and who are passionate about sport.
Finally, we asked Coral for advice for the young athletes who may read this article she says:
“Keep playing your sport for as long as you can. Other important commitments will come up, maybe school, work or family but sport has always enriched my experiences everywhere I have gone.”
“I have made very good friends who share the same competitiveness and joy of sport, and in times of stress I have found sport to be a great outlet and support network. Any team I have played in has had a great mix of ages and abilities, and as I think back to the guidance I received from my older teammates as a young athlete, I believe it’s incredibly important to try and offer the same leadership now.”
To keep up to date with the Derry City LFC team, be sure to give them a like on Facebook here.
20×20 – Women In Sport
- a 20% increase in media coverage of women in sport
- a 20% increase in female participation at all levels of sport
- a 20% increase in attendance at women’s games and events
Everyone can help accelerate progress in this country by pledging to do just one small thing to help start this giant shift for female sport. Whether you’re a teacher who can help create greater parity and opportunities for girls, a journalist who can help increase visibility of female athletes and competitions, a parent who can attend a match or a person who can simply encourage a young woman to get involved in sport, we need you to show your stripes because if she can’t see it, she can’t be it.