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Meet the Euros aces who juggled football with DIY shop and funeral business jobs

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LAUREN WADE and Kirsty McGuinness are among several Women’s Euros stars who have balanced on-pitch roles with some interesting jobs off it.

In Wade’s case, it was working for her family’s funeral firm while McGuinness juggled shifts at B&Q with playing for club and country.

Lauren Wade says the 'full-time player environment' is a new experience for some of Northern Ireland's squad

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Lauren Wade says the ‘full-time player environment’ is a new experience for some of Northern Ireland’s squadCredit: PA

Lauren Wade (Midfielder)

Outside of taking to the field for Kenny Shiels’ Northern Ireland team, Wade has previously been employed as a funeral director.

The midfielder, 28, born in Coleraine in Londonderry had been balancing work for her family-run firm with her club career for Belfast-based Women’s Premier League outfit Glentoran.

Overseeing memorial services for the departed runs in the family of the player who began her senior club career at Coleraine.

The Glentoran ace’s grandfather Hugh had been managing the 187-year-old company Hugh Wade and Son.

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Last year Wade’s involvement saw her get fitted for a uniform with the player revealing her keenness ‘to get involved in all parts of the business’.

At present, the Northern Ireland star’s mother Charlene and her sister Alison are currently running the firm.

Last June Wade, whose side play Norway on July 7, told the Belfast Telegraph: “I have always done a bit of work in the business, so I know a lot of what is involved 

“I think you have to have a certain personality as a funeral director.

“You have to be a natural really and I think that I have the personality and the empathy to help people in very difficult circumstances.”

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Wade, who scored in her team’s 4-1 friendly loss to Belgium last time out, helped Northern Ireland make history with the side claiming a Women’s Euros spot for the first time ever.

The final whistle of their second-leg 2-0 play-off triumph against Ukraine – which came after a 2-1 first-leg victory – was followed by tearful scenes of jubilation at Seaview.

And it later led to many of the team’s part-time aces entering a full-time training programme commencing in January this year.

This week Wade, who has 21 senior caps for the team, told reporters: “The full-time environment is something many of us have never experienced.

“We thought it was just the norm to go to work, exercise, sleep and rehearse.

“We’ve really seen the differences and benefits that full-time training has had.”

Kirsty McGuinness has experienced working full-time at B&Q alongside playing for Northern Ireland

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Kirsty McGuinness has experienced working full-time at B&Q alongside playing for Northern IrelandCredit: Pacemaker

Kirsty McGuinness (Forward)

Kirsty, 27, and her younger sister Caitlin, 19, are set to make history as the first sisters to represent Northern Ireland at a Women’s Euros.

The duo, named in Kenny Shiels’ 23-player squad this week, have become the first siblings included in a Northern Ireland squad competing in a Euros since Jonny and Corry Evans.

And the pair also became the first sisters to score in the same game for their side during a 5-1 Euros qualifier thrashing of the Faroe Islands in December 2020.

McGuinness, who studied psychology, history and sociology at Belfast Metropolitan College, netted three goals in Euros qualifier defeats of the Faroe Islands and Belarus.

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The forward began her senior club career at the age of 14 in 2008 when she was signed by Linfield Ladies.

And McGuinness, who now plies her trade at Sion Swifts, made her senior international debut for Northern Ireland at 15 in 2010 when the team beat Estonia 3-0.

Like some of her Green and White colleagues, McGuiness fitted her a day job in retail around her flourishing football career.

The forward, who has scored 10 goals in 35 senior international appearances, did early hours shifts at B&Q whilst playing in Northern Ireland’s top-flight and on the international stage.

McGuinness could be set for a Euros debut alongside her younger sister Caitlin

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McGuinness could be set for a Euros debut alongside her younger sister CaitlinCredit: Pacemaker

McGuinness told reporters: “I was lucky to work in the morning.

“They knew I played football and my boss was very understanding.

“Most players worked full time during the day and went to training in the evening.

“Now we are here in the morning. It’s great that we are here and this is our full-time job now until the European Championship.”

When you take it in its context — we had amateur players who were going to work in Lidl and in hospitals as nurses

Kenny Shiels

Northern Ireland reaching Euros is made even more remarkable by the fact their side included players working in a variety of jobs including nursing.

And Shiels’ aces also overcame a number of injuries to claim their spot with a contest opener against Norway set for July 7 before duels with Austria and England.

Following their qualification last April, the head coach said: “When you take it in its context — we had amateur players who were going to work in Lidl and in hospitals as nurses.

Kenny Shiels' side's journey to Euros qualification was helped by a number of players working in jobs outside of football

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Kenny Shiels’ side’s journey to Euros qualification was helped by a number of players working in jobs outside of footballCredit: Sportsfile

“The majority of our squad is made up of that and I have to say, when you look at it in that perspective, it makes the achievement ridiculous.

“I’m more than surprised because of the magnitude of where we have qualified to.

“Two years ago we were in the very lower echelons of the UEFA co-efficient and now we’ve moved up enormously. We’re in with the big guns.”



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