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‘After the first few training sessions I was hooked’

Published: 14th October 2016

Cathy Linney “spent her life” watching her brothers play rugby so when she came to Trinity in 2015 she decided to try it out for herself. In the space of that intervening year, Cathy has gone from a complete beginner to one of the starting backs for Trinity women’s rugby team.

She says she still gets a few raised eyebrows when she tells people she plays rugby but that’s definitely changing. This is something with which her teammate, Kayla Young, firmly agrees.

“Fans and media are realising that women’s sports entertain and inspire just like men’s sports. Specifically, women’s rugby is attracting players, fans and media, especially after the recent international success of the Irish women’s team and our hosting of the upcoming women’s World Cup,” says Kayla, a senior freshman science student.

Kayla says she knew nothing about rugby before she started playing. “One of my friends in the States recommended it. After the first few training sessions I was hooked.”

Caitlin Crowe, who plays in the back row, played rugby in secondary school and knew she wanted to continue throughout college. “Until Fresher’s Week I wasn’t even sure that Trinity had a ladies’ rugby team!” she says.

Veteran Niamh Byrne, this year’s women’s captain, like Caitlin also started playing rugby in secondary school. During Fresher’s Week she too marched up to the stand in Front Square and signed up. “Probably the best decision of my college life!” she says.

Throughout her time in Trinity, the fourth year BESS student says she’s seen a lot of positive changes. “Looking back at women’s rugby when I started and comparing it to now, there have been huge strides made.” Beyond the college walls, there’s no doubt that the rugby sevens in the recent Olympics and the prospect of an Irish-hosted World Cup in August 2017 are also helping to change the perception of the women’s game. The key thing, the girls seem to say, is that once you give women’s rugby a go you’ll never look back.

Niamh says: “I would say not to overthink it and just come down to one training session. We teach you everything you need to know about the game and everyone is very welcoming and friendly. Worst case scenario is that you tried something new and found that it wasn’t for you. Best case scenario, and what happened to me, you find a sport you absolutely love playing and never look back.”

To find out more about DUFC women http://www.tcd.ie/Sport/student-sport/clubs/rugby-ladies/