The new rugby season is starting up again and ladies teams around Kildare are looking to recruit new players.
A number of senior ladies teams in the county currently compete in the All Ireland League: Cill Dara and NUIM Barnhall.
Cill Dara vice captain Sarah Pickford says the team made a decision to drop down a division for the new season so they will be playing teams closer to home.
“Last season we were lacking in numbers,” she explained, “so we’re looking to recruit players for the new season.”
The ladies team at NUIM Barnhall is currently entering its sixth season of competitive rugby, and second season in the All Ireland League. In the previous five years, the Barnhall Babes, as they are known, have contested three finals - the Leinster Development League final in their first year and the Leinster Division 3 League final twice, winning it in 2011.
John Cassidy, head coach of the Babes’ senior team, explained some of the benefits of playing rugby, saying it is a great way for GAA players to keep fit over the winter months.
“It’s also great for social networking with like-minded girls,” he said, encouraging all ladies to come along to training and try it out.
“We welcome everyone,” said Newbridge senior ladies captain Louise Birchall. “From beginners to retired players who want to get back into it.”
She said that “the fitness is excellent” in rugby and that it is great just to learn a new sport.
None of the clubs require any previous experience of playing the game, with beginners coaching available.
As all three of the clubs spoken to mentioned, fitness and social life are two of the main benefits to playing rugby. But there are plenty more reasons to take up the sport.
One of the great things about the game is that there is a position for everyone. You don’t have to be big or fast to play.
The sport also offers players the chance to play tag rugby and rugby sevens as well as the standard full contact form. So it never gets boring. NUIM Barnhall’s John Cassidy says tag rugby is a great social sport, with both ladies and mixed teams.
And as Louise Birchall reminded, rugby is a growing sport, with Leinster’s success encouraging more people to start playing.
Training for each of Cill Dara, NUIM Barnhall and Newbridge ladies teams takes places on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm
To find out more visit the club websites or leinsterrugby.ie.
Cill Dara: Cliona 086 3167785 Sarah 087 6576324
NUIM Barnhall: Women’s head coach John Cassidy 087 3290137 Team Manager Elaine Rayfus 087 9373689
Newbridge: Louise 087 1213996.