Only seven days remain until the 2012 Women’s Rugby Intervarsities kick off at the University Sportsground in Dangan, Galway. The event, which takes place from Wednesday 28th to Thursday 29th March, will see eight third-level teams compete for national titles. NUIG is Connacht’s only representative and will battle it out with UL and UCC for the Division One title while LIT, CIT, DCU, WIT and Queen’s University, Belfast will complete for Division Two honours.
Among those who will be competing in Galway are current Connacht Women’s captain Alison Miller (UCC), Ashleigh Baxter (QUB), Niamh Kavanagh and Joy Neville (both representing LIT). All are members of the Irish Women’s Six Nations squad which had an impressive run of form in this year’s championship, eventually finishing third on the back
of a heart-breaking one-point defeat to France and record-breaking victories against Italy and Wales. They will be joined in Galway by international team-mates Laura Guest and Gillian Bourke who coach the UCC and UL teams respectively. The participation of these athletes is an obvious advantage for the tournament’s organising committee who want to emphasise the development of the women’s game during the championship, a point not lost on NUIG captain Louise Kelly.
“It’s great to have this kind of support. Organising the tournament has been hard, especially on top of our training. Study’s been coming a distant second in recent weeks! But players like these show that it’s possible to combine study and high-performance sports. It’s also great to have them onboard after a great Six Nations campaign – it can only help boost how women’s college rugby, and women’s rugby in general, is viewed.”
The student contingent from the Irish Women’s squad are just a number of high profile players who will be participating in the year’s intervarsities. Women’s college rugby has long been a breeding ground for interprovincial and international talent and the organisers of this year’s tournament expect nothing less from next week’s performances.