It was not the greatest of days on the pitch with Ireland’s Women’s Rugby Team going down to Scotland at Donnybrook but in the greater scheme of things, there were more important things afoot looking at the past and the future than the present.
At the Aviva Stadium last night over 100 Women who had represented Ireland between 1992 and 2006, when official caps were introduced, were presented with caps marking their achievement of playing for their country.
Players like Fiona Steed and Sarah Jane Belton who were to the fore in the Women’s sport before it became an ever more visible and important part of the sport gathered at the stadium for the team dinner after the Scotland game and were presented with the caps by IRFU President Philip Orr.
The idea came about as part of the detailed review of the Women’s Game currently being undertaken by Mary Quinn and Su Carty.
“The IRFU are very grateful to all those who were the pioneers of Women’s rugby in Ireland and we are pleased to be in a position to recognise players who have yet to receive their cap,” said IRFU Chief Executive Philp Browne speaking ahead of last night’s event.
“This has been made possible following extensive research of those eligible for an international cap by a sub-committee led by Su Carty and Mary Quinn, and following confirmation from World Rugby of fixtures that are recognised as being full Test internationals.”
“We are delighted that we will be joined by so many of these former players at our last home Women’s Six Nations match and team dinner of the season. We are very grateful to all those who have assisted us in making it possible.”
The look to the future is promised this week when Sport for Business understands that Ireland will formally nominate the first Woman from this island to represent us on the World Rugby Council.
The decision by World Rugby to expand the number of members of the international Governing Body so long as the third nominee from countries with two existing members was a woman was made last year and holds out the promise of real change in the culture of the sport.
Ireland’s hosting of the Women’s Rugby World Cup on the pitch and the launch of an eight-year strategy looking to the future of the sport led by Katie Sadleir, made last summer a key moment in the development of the sport for Women.
Yesterday’s caps and this weeks announcement of the World Rugby Council nominee are important next steps, ones that will live longer in the history of the sport than the result from Donnybrook.
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Image Credit: Gary Carr, Inpho Photography