10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Don't forget to come out and support her and the girls in green when Ireland take on France in their first home game in Ashbourne RFC on Friday week (February 11) at 7.30pm.
Name: Deirdre O'Brien
DOB: February 9, 1984
Club: Blackrock College RFC
Q: Why did you choose rugby?
A: To be honest, I lost a bet in college! I had to go out training and I loved it, so it's the one bet I have never regretted losing.
Q: At what age/level did you start?
A: I started when I was 18 in first year in the University of Limerick.
Q: Why did you decide to try out for the provincial squad?
A: I had been playing with my club and I really enjoyed it. I knew the provincial side would be a great way to learn the more technical side of the sport and improve my rugby.
Q: Was Leinster a team you always wanted to play for or was any province up for grabs?
A: I previously played with Munster when I lived in Limerick, but once I moved to Dublin I wanted to play for Leinster.
Q: What was your greatest moment playing for Leinster so far?
A: Scoring my first try for Leinster this year.
Q: How did it feel to get picked for the Ireland squad for the first time?
A: It was very exciting but also daunting. As you know it's a big step up and you have to push yourself harder in training and give total commitment.
Q: How did you react to losses in the early years as opposed to now? Did they help you develop a certain mindset?
A: Losing is always hard, but I think that nowadays I look at a loss and try to get the positive out of it. I try to identify the areas where we need to work and improve on.
Q: Did you have any rugby role models that you followed when you were younger?
A: I didn't when I was younger, but when I started playing I always looked up to the senior players in the club and admired the commitment and passion they had for the sport.
Q: What was your hardest competition to win that gave you the most satisfaction?
A: The All-Ireland League is always a tough competition. A year's work comes down to one game - the final. They are definitely the most memorable wins in my mind.
Q: Do you recall who your hardest opponent has been?
A: It's funny, when I played with UL Bohs our hardest opponents were Blackrock. Now that I play with Blackrock, it's UL Bohs!
Q: Do you have a certain training routine/programme that you follow to stay at top level?
A: We would have a fitness, strength and conditioning and speed sessions programme we have to maintain throughout the season. Also, with this, you have your club and squad sessions. It's a lot, but you learn how to balance it
Q: What advice would you give to other women who wish to follow in your footsteps?
A: Not to give up. You may be on the bench, the outskirts of making a squad, close to the starting team, but don't give up. Sometimes it takes a while to succeed, but it is worth it in the end.
Q: Final words?
A: Give it a go!
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