Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Hannah O'Connor Interview by Ciarán Duffy

pic by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

As I wrote about last week, Leinster were successful in retaining the newly revamped interprovincial series.  Last years series was a single round-robin league, however this season saw the addition of the semi-finals and Final.  Leinster were victorious in all five of their games. I caught up with Leinster number 8 Hannah O’Connor.  

O’Connor is a relative newcomer to high-level rugby, having grown up playing numerous sports such as Football and Golf.  I’ve found this to be a common theme among female athletes. Having interviewed other womens rugby players and footballers (that’s soccer) many had started out playing different sports.  I would say at least ¾ of the Ireland rugby squad started out playing other sports. Maybe that’s because there weren’t so many womens rugby teams around before the last decade, and we have to consider that rugby is still a developing sport in this country.  I say this specifically for women because womens football and rugby are still amateur, while mens rugby has grown dramatically in the last 25 years womens rugby just has not got the same support by the IRFU.  

I spoke to Hannah about the recent games and how beneficial it is to play more than last season.  I asked if it would be possible to someday have a tournament similar to the Pro14 (Probably more similar to the old Celtic League).  

The Leinster no. 8 is a Primary school teacher in her non-rugby time.  She spoke about the importance of teaching young people the value of sport, and how to encourage young girls to keep playing.  She gave some advice for young players looking to play no.8.  

Hannah actually started as a number 10, and occasional 12. 

She is in the Ireland camp for the 2nd time and hoping to get her first cap.  Recently a World Cup qualifier tournament was announced, involving Italy, Ireland, Scotland, and the Rugby Europe Championship winner (likely to be Spain).  The winner will qualify for the World Cup, the runner-up will go into the repechage.  

You can listen to the interview on our MixCloud, Spotify, Player FM, & PodBean, on the links below.  

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Ciarán is the Producer and Presenter of Post to Post Sport (@PostToPostSport), a sports podcast that covers rugby, football, wrestling, and Irish Sport News. You can get their podcasts on MixCloud our Spotify (Search PostToPostSport) and PlayerFM (Post to Post Sport).

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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019