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Joy Neville’s World Cup Diary

Joy Neville’s World Cup Diary

Shannon and Munster back row Joy Neville gives us an insight into the Ireland Women’s camp as they prepare to take on Scotland.

…Joy Neville…

Shannon and Munster back row Joy Neville gives us an insight into the Ireland Women’s camp as they prepare to take on Scotland.

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We got up at 8am for training and units. We had our units at 8.30am outside the hotel and breakfast at 9am. Today we trained at St. Albert RFC for an hour which went very well. Once we got back to the hotel we had lunch and a few of us chilled in RB (Rachel Boyd) and Lynne Cantwell’s room where Jo O’Sullivan made us play her game called wink murderer…basically the murderer (undetected) has to wink at a person and that person has to dramatically fall to the ground and die. The more dramatic the better the chance of winning an Oscar!

But we got some weird looks when we decided to continue the game in the dining room around the table, where people began to drop from their chairs left, right and centre and had to stay in that position until the murderer was revealed! Poor Slim (Gillian McAllister) ended up staying on the ground for ten minutes.

After dinner, we had a meeting at 8pm for an hour in preparation for our biggest match of the World Cup to date, against South Africa. Goose (our coach Philip Doyle) had organised the cutest referee to come (Simon McDowell) to clarify the rucking laws. He was a hit with a few of the girls, especially Germaine Healy.

I think the lack of men over the past couple of weeks is getting to our poor Geri. After that we hit the hay to reflect on the challenge ahead.


MATCH DAY – IRELAND v SOUTH AFRICA. Up at 6.45am. Did our units at 8am which went okay. There wasn’t much time to relax as we had breakfast at 9 and a meeting at 10. After that we left for the pitch.

Our pre-match warm-up was very positive, other than that poor Orla Brennan got a smack to the back of her head from Fiona Coghlan, towards the end, during her intent to egg Orla on – the poor girl got an awful shock. I’ve never seen the girl get so angry, I thought Fi was going to get a whack back but little did I know that Orla had asked Fi to do it to get her aggression up for the match!! It must have worked because Orla flattened the first South African she saw once the whistle went.

We ran in six tries (for a 37-0 win) and were over the moon about getting a bonus point. Once the whistle went for full-time, we had to wait 15 minutes to hear the Spain/Samoa match result which would determine where we would end up in the tournament.

The luck of the Irish prevailed for once as the chances of us getting a bonus point and Spain beating Samoa were very slim, we thought. When we found out that Spain miraculously won 14-12, the only word to describe how we felt was ‘ecstatic!’

We broke into song as usual and were surrounded by our family and friends, until the ice baths called and Geri jumped into the big 10-foot container with all her clothes and boots on!! We cracked open two bottles of champagne in Schumacher style and saturated Goose from head to toe which was great fun, not realising the down side of sharing the remaining half a glass between 26 thirsty girls…

Once fed and watered, we headed to watch Scotland take on the mighty New Zealand. That was good but I think the excitement got a bit too much for Goose as he fell asleep on the grass in the foetal position and woke up like a big grumpy red beetroot!! Tania (Rosser) has the photo evidence…

But the highlight of the match was the cute Simon running the lines in his tight shorts, much to Geri’s delight! She couldn’t stop eyeing him up! We had our dinner at eight and met our families in our hotel bar for a celebratory drink. Just the one unfortunately!

…Centre Patrique Kelly who is part of the Irish management team for the World Cup after injurying her shoulder…


Woken up bright and early for our pool recovery session with Paddy (Patrique) Kelly – no rest for the wicked. Today, instead of our normal weight/height competition, we had a foot size competition – okay, maybe you had to be there to find it funny.

The squad went their separate ways, some went shopping but the weird thing was that Paddy Kelly and Fi went to one mall, while Jean (Lonergan), Lynne and Amanda (Greensmith) went to another and they all came back with their make-up done in MAC and they had bought the same hoodies – we are definitely spending too much time together.

I decided to go to a National Park after sleeping for most of the morning. We came across loads of national species – elk, bison, beavers and a rare breed. Upon further inspection, this rare breed turned out to be the French who were defeated by England the day before.

When I got back from that, I went out for dinnger with the Coghlans, the Mahons, Jean, Lynne and Paddy Kelly. It was well nice. We ended up fighting about the desserts because Caro (Caroline Mahon) decided she didn’t want dessert but when the hot fudge brownie arrived, she claimed it and none of us got any. But in the long run, we weren’t too angry because her weight was up 2 kg and the lifters were complaining about her in the lineout the next day…