Read why some of NUIG Women’s Rugby’s past players joined the club and how the sport impacted on them…
Kelly Marie Robb
(UC Berkeley) 2013
Family. noun \ˈfam-lē, ˈfa-mə-\ :a group of people who are related to each other.
I begin this with a very specific word, family. When stepped onto the pitch the first night in January I had no idea what to expect. I was cold, wet, in a foreign country, alone, with no idea how to play the game known as Rugby. Fast forward to 3 months later I was stepping onto a different pitch. One that was hosting the National Championships and I was with my team. NUIG Women’s Rugby gave me something that cannot be done justice with words. We went from being strangers and with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears we became a team, a family. Every practice I grew stronger on and off the pitch because I had the hardest working, most caring group of girls by my side. Being a part of this team gave me so much joy and pride I would wake up excited for another practice, another match, another opportunity be surrounded by the coolest girls in Ireland. We played together, ate together, sang together, danced together, and celebrated together. Joining NUIG Women’s Rugby was the best decision I ever made and when I returned to California I left with 30 sisters and a National Championship medal.
Brittany ‘Momo’ Morales, Psychology
(The University of Texas at San Antonio)
I played for NUIG in the Spring 2012 semester. The program that I came with to Study Abroad at NUIG really encouraged us to be involved in different clubs and societies during our time. I wanted to originally try out for Camogie (Women’s Hurling) because it was so different from any sport I have ever tried to play before. Not to mention that it is originated in Ireland so this is really one of the only places I would be able to play it. As I went to clubs day to sign up, I walked pass the women’s rugby table and was called over by a group of girls. My first impression I had of the girls was how open and fun they seemed to have with each other. After a small amount of persuading for me to attend the next training, I signed up for the team. I admit the first training was pretty intense! But the more training sessions I went to, the more connected with the team I became. I had never played rugby before, but the girls didn’t hold that against me. If anything it made me more motivated to attend training so I can learn more about the sport. This was probably one of the best decisions I had made when going to Ireland. I was able to find my family away from home. They were the ones I came to depend on when I became lonely from missing my family. This was a great way to meet locals and to make genuine connections. I made friendships with people that I hope to keep throughout my life. I’ve already planned to return to visit again. Ireland has been a big piece of my heart and I have the Rugby girls to thank for that. I send out a big HOORAAH to the girls! Good luck in all the seasons to come!
Maria Byrne, Bachelors of Commerce (2007-2010)
Years played (2008-2010)
NUIG Women’s Rugby Captain (2009-2010)
I joined NUIG Women’s Rugby in my 2nd of college (2008) because my room mate told me all about this amazing tour the club did in 2007 to Scotland. I went with a few friends one night and kept going back because I loved the challenge of learning something new and different where everyone was a beginner – the 1st game I ever saw was one I played. I stuck with rugby up until the end of college because it was the kind of team that was more like a family than a group of individuals, I made friends for life. I can honestly say that rugby is now a passion of mine.
Lauren E. Turner
(Canisius University, New York)
I played for NUIG spring of 2010 in my 3rd year of college, and it was the best experience of my life. The girls are so willing to help you and even make you comfortable of the area when you’re miles away from home. They made Ireland home for me and it stays that way. With the team naturally working together it made me realize that there are good teams and good people in the world, and it made me become a better player again.
(Linfield College, Oregon)
I am an American student who studied mathematics and archaeology at NUIG for a semester during my 3rd year of college (2011). I had never played rugby before, but joined on a whim after meeting some of the team at the club fair. I knew absolutely nothing about the sport, but everyone was very helpful and encouraging when I started out. It had been my goal to get involved in the NUIG community somehow during my short time abroad and my experiences with the rugby club went above and beyond my expectations. I fell in love with the sport and I also made many close friends on the team. It’s not just practices and matches that make the team great, but also the wide range of social activities that go with it. Everyone is welcoming and the rugby club is definitely a community that you feel a part of in a very short time. Rugby was the most rewarding part of my time abroad. I miss it and the girls tons!!
Allison Condell, Civil Engineering (2005-2009)
Years played (2007-2009)
I played rugby in college for 3rd and 4th year with UCG. Following this I have played with rugby teams in Scotland and New York. It started when I went to a rugby match in Scotland whilst living there in 2007 and thought, this could be a fun sport to try. So I went down to practice week one of 3rd year and never looked back! Rugby is, by far, the best sport I’ve ever played in terms of team spirit, friendship and social fun- these girls really know how to party!! I wasn’t particularly fit before I tried rugby but within a few weeks I was able to run farther, and my overall strength and toning improved. I was way more relaxed at college and in life in general – rugby gave me a way to positively release my pent up aggression with a busy academic and social schedule. But really I think what made me stay with rugby was the twenty or so new friends I made on my first night at training and in the seasons that followed. There is a real sense of community on and off the pitch – I am still friends with so many of the original girls I met when I first joined. Rugby has a position for everyone so even if you are tall or short, big or small, there is a position for you. And seriously tackling doesn’t hurt, it actually feels amazing to knock someone over! I’ve made friends all over the world playing rugby and it all started with UCG. Thank you so much girls, you are all very close to my heart and I miss playing with you very much.