Dayna Finn, one of Ireland’s greatest basketball prospects playing midfield for Mayo. Juggling sport and studies is difficult, never mind two sports both at an elite level. And yet, the Mayo dual star, currently studying at NUI Galway, is doing just that, but in two vastly contrasting disciplines.
20×20: Questions – Dayna Finn
1. What’s your first memory of sport as a child?
I have so many childhood memories of sports, my first one was probably playing football in the back garden with my brother and getting rugby tackled every possession.
2. How did you first become involved in sport?
My parents are big sports people, they both played for Mayo. They influenced me a lot.
3. What sports did you try as a child?
I tried basketball, football GAA, handball, and swimming. Now I play basketball and football as my two main sports.
4. What decided you to settle on your chosen sport?
Basketball/Football: My passion for the game, the enjoyment and fun I get out of it, meeting friends for life.
5. Who has had the most impact on your sporting career?
My parents, my coaches and elite sports people.
6. What female do you most admire in the world of sport?
Katie Taylor: Her determination, grit, drive and willingness to improve and accomplishments in a sport I wouldn’t be extremely familiar with it is something I admire. Also, the fact that she is Irish makes it even better.
7. Outside of sport what do you do in your leisure time?
Outside of sport, I socialise and meet up with friends, go for coffee, I like going on adventures with friends and spending time with family too.
8. What is the last movie you went to see? What is your favourite movie of all time?
The last movie I went to see was A Star is Born. My favourite movie of all time is Coach Carter or the Blind Side, I can´t choose.
9. What music do you listen to?
10. Are you a reading fan? If so, what are you currently reading?
I read sport articles mainly, I wouldn’t be a big book reader.
11. Do you follow any sports stars on social media? If so who?
Yes, I follow an endless list some of which are Steph Curry, Katie Taylor, Sabrina Ionescu, and many GAA sports people.
12. Forget about your sporting diet for a moment? Your favourite meal when you breakout?
Haha, my favourite cheat meal or snack would probably be a Nutella crepe.
13. Who do you most admire in your own sport?
I admire a lot of people but if I was to pick it would probably be Sabrina Ionescu or Diana Taurasi
14. Do you have a special ritual before competing?
I always pull up my socks just before throw-in
15. Do you still play other sports for fun?
I play GAA for Mayo Senior ladies too. The balance is hard, but I prioritise basketball while still having time for both, which Is something I love. I am currently on Erasmus in Valencia, Spain, and I am playing basketball over there.
16. What advice would you give to young girls & boys to encourage them to participate in sport?
I would encourage all children to try as many sports as possible at a young age. You never know what you like most until you’ve tried it. Don’t give up easily, keep practising and working on your specific skills in your chosen sport and you will enjoy it even more. Practice makes perfect.
17. What has been your biggest sporting achievement?
I have a few achievements that I would regard as my biggest ones. At club level with Maree BC, we ran an unbeaten season in 2018/19, winning both league and cup and earning promotion. Winning an Unde 18 silver medal for Ireland in the FIBA European B Championships in Dublin in 2017 and earning promotion to Division A. Also winning a bronze medal and promotion to Division A this year in the FIBA U20 B European Championships in Kosovo.
How do you cope with (a) injuries; (b) other setbacks?
Positivity is key to an injury. Once you acquire your mental strength and believe that you will get better your half-way there. Next is treatment and rehab and continuously doing your exercises in order to achieve the results. I have had several injuries in the past few years and the hardest part is mental. Of course, physically you hurt, but to overcome it you need to have strong mental strength and patience.
18. What do your family make of your success?
My family are the proudest people on earth. They admire me so much no matter what the result, success or failure they’ll always have my back.
19. What does sport mean to you?
Everything. It’s my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It has helped me to develop greatly as a person and a team player. It gives me a positive mindset, strength and confidence.
I am happiest when playing.