When I was intrigued by an ad in our local newsletter back in the summer of 1995 little did I know what a great journey I was about to begin. Looking back seventeen years later, that decision to join the first ladies rugby team in Ballincollig RFC was one that has shaped my life since.
From humble beginnings I have been lucky enough to represent both Ballincollig and UL Bohemian at club level and also Munster and Ireland. I have had some of the greatest experiences one can imagine through rugby (both on and off the pitch) and met some of the greatest people who have impacted greatly and positively on my life.
Being part of a team is one of the best feelings in the sporting world – just very slightly behind winning. They are your second family and they get you through the good and bad times. Like any sport, people come and go through the years but I have been lucky enough to have made some of the best friends anyone can imagine through rugby.
I’m not sure what I would have ended up doing if it hadn’t been for rugby, but I also wonder what I would do now without it. I have been fortunate enough to have only missed two months of competitive games in my careers due to injury – that was back in 2001. This, I know, is rare, and I am thankful for my luck. On the other hand I know all too well that there is a down side to sport for others and their families.
A very good friend of mine is having a tough time at the moment with an injury she sustained through sport – one thing that she says is that it is so important to have friends and family around to support you, no matter how little it may seem. I would like to commend the World Sports Team for their efforts to bring the wider sporting community together as one big family and to be there for people who need support from that family – that’s why I’m a member.
Guím gach rath oraibh leis an smaoineamh iontach seo!
Louise retired from international rugby in 2010