Former Ireland rugby international Rosie Foley has hailed the support of her family after she swam the English Channel last weekend.
“My parents have given me great help and support,” she said.
She also had the support of her husband, Pat Minogue and her friend Fionnuala Walsh, who herself swam the Channel in 2012.
“They were on the boat – called Optimist – to support me, giving me food and water when I needed it,” Rosie added.
She is the sister of current Munster rugby coach Anthony Foley, whose success on the rugby field has acted as an inspiration to his sister.
“Anthony has been inspirational,” she said. “Some of his victories with Munster show what can be achieved.”
Rosie, who herself won 39 caps for the Irish women’s rugby team, completed the gruelling swim in just under 16 hours.
“My background would be in rugby, Gaelic football and camogie,” she said of her vast sporting experience.
She recently swam the length of Lough Derg, a feat which gave her the confidence to complete the task of swimming the Channel.
“I swam on the lake from Portumna to Killaoe, which is 39km,” she said. “When I did that I knew I was ready for the Channel.
“I started training for it about 18 months ago. But I have also been swimming the lake in Killaloe for the last three years.”
Rosie also has to balance her sport with family life as she is married with three children.
“That’s where the family support kicks in,” she enthused. I’ve had great support from my parents and my sister Orlaith.”
Rosie is a member of the Limerick Masters Swimming Club, who train in the pool at the University of Limerick.
“I’m lucky that UL is on my doorstep,” said the Killaloe-based Rosie. On her achievement she said: “If you never try, you never know. The sky is the limit. Yes the training was tough but was it worth it? Absolutely.”
Rosie is a PE and Geography teacher in St Anne’s Community College in Killaloe, Co Clare, where she helped set up a rugby team in a traditionally GAA school.
“It’s only boys at the moment but the girls are mad keen to get involved,” she smiled.