Cornmarket is delighted to have teamed up with Eve McCrystal as part of our SHE Inspires Campaign. Eve is the Pilot of the Tandem on the National Paracycling Team and is also a member of An Garda Siochana. Amongst her many sporting achievements, Eve is a Double Paralympic Champion from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the Current World Para Road Champion.

Our 'She Inspires...' campaign celebrates women who go above and beyond both in their day job as a front-line worker but also do extraordinary things outside of work.

Tell us a bit about yourself...

I’m a mam first of all to 2 teenage girls…that’s probably the most important part of who I am and what drives me and shapes my life every day….beyond that I’m a proud Garda & Sportswoman. I believe in the power of sport to inspire, transform and bring so much positivity into people's lives….anyone and everyone’s lives, but I am particularly passionate about how involvement in sport can be transformative and empowering for women & girls.

When did you join the guards?

24th July 2000.

What made you choose a career in the guards?

As long as I can remember I wanted to be a Garda….I honestly don’t know why exactly but from the youngest age I can remember, it was always something I aspired to….I think I was fascinated by it, it looked like fun to me. I think it looked like Gardai were strong, good people…there was something appealing to me in that and I wanted to get involved as long as I can remember.

What do you enjoy most about being a guard?

I enjoy the ever-changing environment and how you have to deal with a very fast paced and complex set of challenges every day. The job has equipped me with discipline, teamwork and determination which I have been able to bring into other areas of my life and sport in particular. I believe in the positive impact the Gardai can have on society and communities and I see this first hand every day. I am currently in a Community Policing role which I really enjoy. Having the opportunity to engage with local people, be visible to kids & schools, hopefully let the community see me as both a Garda and sporting role model. I believe I represent well on both fronts, I enjoy it and am proud of it.

What age did you get into sport?

I was always involved in sport….I tried everything as a kid…my mam brought me & my brother everywhere to everything!...from high jump & swimming medals at the Community Games to running around the road at Templemore, Ironman triathlons in my 20s and only really getting into high performance cycling in my thirties.

Why did you choose tandem cycling?

It's funny because I didn't specifically choose it as such….I won a couple of Elite National Championship medals in the Road Time Trial and was approached by the Cycling Ireland Coach at the time asking if I wanted to test to be a tandem Pilot. I wasn't altogether sure of what that entailed at the time but I was always keen to challenge and test myself so I went for the Physiological testing and it grew from there. I was lucky to have the chance to Pilot Katie George. She’s a tenacious competitor and we both were super driven to be the fastest in the World and we worked our socks off to achieve this which has been very satisfying but it is not the results that have made it such a good experience….it's the process, it’s the routine, it’s the everyday graft and the ongoing drive to improve where the real satisfaction comes from.

How do you juggle a career in the public sector with sport?

If I’m being honest it is an ongoing juggling act and can prove very challenging at times, as I am also juggling being a mam in the mix. Cycling is a sport where you have to train long hours. It’s an endurance discipline so I am regularly training 15 hours a week and often into mid 20s hours. It really squeezes my time and getting adequate recovery for that level of output when also working and driving kids here, there & everywhere - it has me running on fumes sometimes!

What are you most proud of in your life?

2 beautiful girls for starters! Without doubt they are my pride and joy. Beyond that, I am quite proud of how I have managed to remain focused and determined as a high performance athlete over the last 10 years. There were very difficult circumstances to overcome during that time and it would have been very easy to side step that level of sport but for me, sport is just part of who I am, it's my freedom and personal headspace at times and in truth, driving on to want to be one of the best at what I do on the Tandem, gives me an enormous sense of satisfaction and achievement……although the Mammy guilt catches me sometimes!

If you have one piece of advice that you could tell your future self when you were younger what would it be?

Be consistent…show up every day….be attuned to your environment and putting yourself in positions and places that can offer opportunity and progression. Sometimes when you’re young, you don’t look too far ahead and make decisions for various reasons that might not be the best thing for you. I guess you feel in those younger years you know best but sometimes taking a steer from a more experienced person is the smartest thing to do. I’d also tell my younger self to seek out opportunities in HP Sport a lot sooner! I came to it late but I believe I would have had even more to give if I started younger.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the world of sport?

It's simple but complicated! Be honest with yourself. Be accountable to yourself. Don’t fool yourself. Ask questions, be open to learn and sincere in your curiosity and motivation to be a better athlete version of yourself. In this day & age, we are all very caught up with image but we are losing sincerity and honesty as a result. You will not achieve in sport unless you are internally driven and self-aware. It's very easy these days with social media and various technological and communication platforms to make yourself ‘look’ good but if you lack depth, honesty and consistency with putting the hard graft in every day, you won’t achieve to your potential.

Who has been an inspiration to you in your life?

For me, this is something that has changed over the years and continues to do so. From childhood I was always in awe of my brother…he seemed to be able to do anything in sport from professional soccer in the UK to an Irish Ironman Triathlon record holder….I guess he gave me belief I could do it too.  In recent years I get a lot out of seeing successful Irish sportswomen achieve on the International stage. We have so many women in loads of different sports now who are real global competitors. It drives me on when I see what they are doing. It encourages me to do the same and maybe some young girls out there will get some inspiration from me.

Cornmarket is proud to champion female trailblazers in the public sector, like Eve. For over 50 years we’ve been looking after the financial wellbeing of public servants. We’ll continue to safeguard your financial future so you can focus on the things that matter to you, in work and beyond.