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Trinity Sport Scholarship Student Kathryn Dane excels on and off the pitch as she scoops Ulster Rugby’s ‘Player of the Year Award 2020’

Published: 8th October, 2020

Trinity Sport Scholarship student Kathryn Dane recently won the Deloitte sponsored Ulster Rugby ‘Player of the Year’ Award 2020. Dane was a standout performer during the opening rounds of the Six Nations in February and March, providing another exciting glimpse of her talent as Ireland’s number nine. Having started in all three of Ireland’s Women’s Six Nations games in 2020, scrum-half Kathryn Dane is hoping to continue an upward trajectory when the Championship resumes later this month.

Kathryn is also excelling in her academic career as she was recently the recipient of a prestigious Irish Research Council grant to fund her PhD at Trinity, a study that will investigate injuries related to tackling in women’s rugby. Only last week Kathryn also started an internship in the physio department at Leinster Rugby, commenting on balancing her academic and sporting career Dane says, “I hate doing things half-hearted, everything I do I want to be doing it to 100 per cent of my ability and I was worried that I'd spread myself too thin. But everyone was so supportive, my house-mates here in Dublin, my parents, my work colleagues and my team-mates, everyone is really helpful and they reassured me that I could do it and that they'd be there to support me through it all when I needed it. Life doesn't tend to work to your timescale. It just so happens that all these three great things, the internship, the PhD and Ireland, are all happening right now at the same time, but I feel very fortunate to have them."

The 24-year-old has now won nine caps for Adam Griggs‘ side and after the enforced break due to Covid-19, is understandably eager to get back on the pitch and continue her impressive performances in green, as Ireland build towards the re-scheduled games against Italy and France. Dane has been part of an extended group of 35 players preparing for the visit of Italy to Energia Park on Sunday 25th October (Kick-off 1pm) and has recently been preparing at the IRFU High Performance Centre ahead of the final stages of the Women’s Six Championship 2020.

“We’ve been doing loads of hard work in the background on our own from home but we’re absolutely buzzing to be back together. We’re building towards the Six Nations games and then the World Cup Qualifiers in December. The sessions have been really good and the coaches have added precision sessions to our training. We then follow them up with performance sessions and it’s going to really put us in a good place for the Six Nations.”

The Trinity College PhD student, who plays her club rugby for Old Belvedere, is relishing the prospect of pulling on the green jersey again. “There is no bigger honour than wearing the green jersey and we felt let down that we couldn’t finish the last two games of the Six Nations so it’s really great now we have the opportunity,” she continues. “We’re not going to squander it, we’re going to hit the ground running and kick on. I love playing at Energia Park, it’s so fast and it’s even better when we have our home crowd there. I just can’t wait, it’s a really special place to play in and we’re all really looking forward to it.”

On her own progress and performances in Test rugby, Dane added: “I’m still young, 24, and still have lots to learn and there are loads of ways to improve my game. I really feel like I’m progressing each year and fingers crossed there’s more to come in the last two games of the Six Nations and the years to come.”