Rugby World Cup: Meet Team Ireland (part 1)
So now that you know the Rugby World Cup gets going on 20th August – with Ireland’s first game on Friday against England – let’s meet the team (we’ll start with team members from A through H):
Born in 1981 and hailing from Tipperary, Austin plays in the back row in the position of prop or flanker. She plays club rugby for current All Ireland Women’s League and Cup champions, UL Bohemians. An alumna of Waterford IT, Austin is a teacher (one of eight on the squad!), and also plays tag rugby.
With 41 caps to her name, Beamish is one of Ireland’s most experienced players and takes up the position of scrum half for the team. Along with some of her team-mates, she plays club rugby with UL Bohemians. A graduate of the University of Limerick, Beamish works as a teacher.
She plays in Ireland’s front row, as prop or hooker. Bourke is also a keen show jumper. Trot on!
Brennan is one of the tallest on the team at 5′ 10″ and, like Beamish, is also one of the most experienced players for Ireland with 41 caps. She plays in the back row for her club, Blackrock, her province, Leinster, and for Ireland. A PE teacher, she attended Coolmine Community College and De Montfort University.
Briggs is one of two members of Clonmel RFC in the Ireland squad. A member of An Garda Síochána (so behave yourselves, now), she is a graduate of Waterford IT. With 16 honours, Briggs lines out at out half/fullback for club, province and country.
One of the weenchiest players at 5′ 2″, Brosnan has 12 caps, and normally plays at out half or first centre. Brosnan is a proud Kerrywoman. Still, she went to University College Cork – the treachery! At least it’s Munster, wha? She plays her club rugby for Cork’s Highfield RFC. In the day job, Brosnan works in the technology sector. Her other main sport is soccer.
Almost as teeny, Cantwell returns to the Ireland squad after spending some time in New Zealand. She thinks the World Cup should be held there, too – some day, perhaps! For now, we’re stuck with Engerland. Cantwell is Ireland’s most experienced player with 57 caps. She has also amassed 65 points for her country. A qualified physiotherapist, Cantwell attended UL and Southampton. She plays for Ireland at first or second centre. She also plays for UL Bohemians club and for her province, Munster.
Fiona Coghlan (Captain)
Another of the team’s most experienced players with 53 caps, Coughlan is Ireland’s captain and her position is as prop. Her club is UL Bohemians but she lines out for Leinster at provincial level. When she is not propping up the Irish scrum, Coghlan is a full-time teacher of PE and mathematics.
Originally from County Down and having been capped 13 times, Davis lines out for Ireland as a utility back covering scrum half, wing or centre. She is a student in the University of Ulster, plays for Leinster province and plays her club rugby for Blackrock. She is a sports fanatic, and is also involved in athletics, weight lifting and water sports.
Lauren Day (Injured. Replaced by Laura Guest)
Day is one of the newer faces in the Ireland squad but she has already picked up nearly eight caps at prop position. She attended Grosvenor High and Queens University Belfast, and plays her club rugby with Cooke. She is also a keen Hockey and Badminton player. Unfortunately, Day has been ruled out of the world cup squad due to a fractured wrist bone. The IRFU said, “It is a bitter blow for the talented forward who has worked hard in the last two seasons to gain a place in the Irish Women’s squad.”
One of the youngest on the squad, and another Ulster player, Downey plays at wing/full back for Ireland and has been capped twice. Like Day, she plays her club rugby for Cooke RFC. A relative newcomer to the game, Downey works full time as a Development Officer for women’s GAA. She is a graduate of the University of Ulster.
Fanning plays for Ireland at the position of hooker and has notched up four caps coming into the Rugby World Cup. She is a Waterford IT alumna and plays club rugby for Highfield RFC in Cork and plays for Munster at provincial level. Fanning is a social worker and enjoys tag rugby, cycling and walking.
A forward with Ireland as prop, Clonakitly’s Laura Guest plays tight-head for Highfield RFC and plays for Munster. She will replace Lauren Day who has been ruled out of the World Cup squad due to injury. A graduate of the University of Limerick, Guest has nine caps, and is a secondary school teacher. She also enjoys golf, cycling, swimming and camogie.
Houston has collected an impressive 25 caps coming into the Rugby World Cup as a strong running centre. A doctor by profession, she plays club rugby for Blackrock RFC and for Leinster. Houston enjoys skiing and weight lifting as part of her fitness programme.
- Check back to find out about the rest of the Ireland squad (K – S)!
- Ireland’s full World Cup squad line-up:
Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Niamh Briggs (Clonmel/Munster)
Helen Brosnan (Highfield/Munster)
Lynne Cantwell (UL Bohemians)
Amy Davis (Blackrock/Leinster)
Eliza Downey (Cooke/Ulster)
Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster)
Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Joanne O’Sullivan (Richmond/Exile)
Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster)
Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Leinster)
Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Louise Austin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Orla Brennan (Blackrock/Leinster)
Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (Capt.)
Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster)
Chris Fanning (Highfield/Munster)
Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians/Leinster)
Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Yvonne Nolan (Blackrock/Leinster)
Kate O’Loughlin (Clonmel/Munster)
Marie Louise Reilly (Navan/Leinster)
Sinead Ryan (Blackrock/Leinster)
Carol Staunton (Galwegians/Connacht)
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