WOMENS RUGBY INTRO
With the 2019/2020 rugby season cut short Blackrock College RFC women are looking forward to the start of the new season.
The progress of the women’s team was evident throughout the performances of the team and the results. Blackrock finished the season third in the AIL League, qualified for the AIL Plate Final and finished second in the Leinster League Division 4, the best finish to the season in five years. This is due to Blackrock having an ever-expanding player pool, boasting two women’s teams, one in the AIL and the Leinster League, along with continued support from the club and our sponsors, Pinergy.
Hannah O’Connor finished the AIL League as the ‘Top Points Scorer’ with 80 points and she was awarded the prestigious AIL Player of the Year, with Jenni Burke shortlisted for the AIL Try of the Year v Galwegians.
You can see a selection of the season’s tries: Click Here!
For the coming season, we welcome Ben Martin as Head Coach to Blackrock Women’s teams. Ben is a former professional rugby player having represented Australia in 7s as well as Munster Rugby and UL Bohemians in 15s. He has coached a number of AIL teams, both mens and womens, including UL Bohemians. While Head Coach there, he steered them to a number of All Ireland League, All Ireland Cup and Munster Cup titles.
This continued dominance in the women’s domestic game earned Ben the title of AIL Women Coach of the Year 2018/19. Ben has also coached the Munster Senior Women’s side in the 2010s and in 2019 took charge of the Irish U-18s 7s side for their summer schedule.
Ben will work with coaches Niamh Fitzgerald and David Gannon who have already proven to be a successful combination during the 2019/20 season.
2019/20 Season Summary
AIL Player of the Year: Hannah O’Connor
AIL Top Points Scorer: Hannah O’Connor (80 points)
Third in AIL: scoring 291 points
Second in Leinster League: scoring 329 points
Breakthrough Player: Ríana Roche
Young Player: Emily Durnin
Best Player: Laura Delaney
All Ireland League
Breakthrough Player: Lisa Mullen
Young Player: Natasja Behan
Best Player: Maeve Óg O’Leary
Players Player (across both squads)
Maeve Óg O’Leary
In the 2019/20 season there were a number of momentous occasions for Blackrock College players. Within the playing ranks the four provinces of Ireland are represented in the extended Women’s Interprovincial Competition held in September 2019.
Connacht: Aisling Brosnan, Aoibheann Reilly
Leinster: Judy Bobbett, Michelle Claffey (VC), Christy Haney, Mairead Holohan, Ali Coleman, Hannah O’Connor
Munster: Ciara Scanlan
Ulster: Maeve Liston, Lisa Mullen
Leinster were the Interprovincial title winners over Connacht in the final at Donnybrook.
Hannah O’Connor picked up the Leinster Women’s Player of the Year award.
International Rugby XVs
With the conclusion of the Interpros, the Ireland Head Coach Adam Griggs named a squad for the November Internationals and Six Nations 2020. Included within this squad were four Blackrock players, Michelle Claffey and Katie Fitzhenry and two new caps Hannah O’ Connor and Judy Bobbett.
In November 2019 both received their first caps in an Autumn International fixture v Wales held in the UCD Bowl. During the Six Nations 2020, Katie Fitzhenry made her return to International XV’s from an injury the previous year.
Blackrock are very proud of the representation of the team within the 7s Ireland ranks. Katie Fitzhenry, Kathy Baker, Aoibheann Reilly and Maeve Liston are part of the Irish set up. WIth Katie captaining her country in a number of the rounds of the World Series events in 2019/20.
The women would also like to extend a special thanks to our fantastic sponsor, Pinergy, who have shown unrivalled energy and passion for the growth of the women in sport– and their continued support for the Blackrock women in the upcoming season.