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In Focus: Fiona Coghlan

In Focus: Fiona Coghlan

The RBS 6 Nations kicks off for the Ireland Women’s squad with a match against Italy on Sunday, February 6. This week we catch up with Fiona Coghlan who captained the team in last year’s Six Nations and Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Name: Fiona Coghlan

DOB: March 3, 1981

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Club: UL Bohemian RFC

Province: Leinster

Position: Prop

Q: Why did you choose rugby?

A: My family would have always supported Clontarf and gone to International games and I was a sports mad as a teenager and tried everything, but it wasn’t until I went to University of Limerick that I got the opportunity to try rugby.

It was freshers’ week and you sign up for everything. To be honest at the start, training was pretty technical and all I wanted to do was play a match so I didn’t think I would stick with it – but once I played my first match, I was hooked.

Q: At what age/level did you start?

A: College rugby, a great place to start and learn the basics.

Q: Why did you decide to try out for the provincial team?

A: I originally was training with Munster after my first year playing but didn’t make the matchday squad, and then I heard about Leinster and did the trial the following year and have been part of the furniture since.

Q: Was Leinster a team you always wanted to play for, or was any province up for grabs?

A: To be honest, I just wanted to play.

Q: What was your greatest moment playing for Leinster so far?

A: The 2009 season was amazing, the Interprovincial final was never played due to weather but it was such a great year. The commitment and intensity given by everyone was phenomenal, the training was excellent, and there was just a great buzz in the squad.

Q: How did it feel to get picked for the Irish squad for the first time?

A: I was originally asked to come and be an extra number at training prior to the 2002 World Cup. I knew I was just there as a tackle bag but I didn’t mind. I just soaked up all the information I was given. It made be more determined that I wanted to play for Ireland.

Q: How did you react to losses in the early years as opposed to now? Did they help you develop a certain mindset?

A: A loss is a loss – you are never okay with it. However there are always things that can be learned from losing, normally more than when you win.

Q: Did you have any rugby role models that you followed when you were younger?

A: I remember when I was younger before I started playing, watching Simon Geoghegan with his lovely blonde locks flying down the wing, but I didn’t have any role models in my teenage years.

Since I have begun playing there are a number of players that I have a huge amount of respect for, their drive and commitment to achieve the best they can be, both in the women’s and men’s game.

Q: Do you recall who your hardest opponent has been?

A: Within the Irish game, my hardest opponent was possibly Marie Barrett of Munster. She is so determined and headstrong that there was always a battle on the pitch. However, that is one of the great things about rugby, when it came to the Ireland set-up we got on great and helped each other out.

Q: Do you have a certain training routine/programme that you follow to stay at top level?

A: You would have club training once or twice a week, two weights sessions, an endurance and a speed session. Sometimes it means training before work and then again after, a lot depends what stage in the season it is. So you really do have to be committed to it

Q: What advice would you give to other women who wish to follow in your footsteps?

A: Work hard and most importantly enjoy it.

Q: Any final words?

A: If you have any interest at all, give it a try!


Italy v Ireland, Rovigo, Sunday, February 6 (2.30pm local time/1.30pm Irish time)
Ireland v France, Ashbourne RFC, Friday, February 11 (7.30pm)
Scotland v Ireland, Lasswade RFC, Saturday, February 26 (2pm)
Wales v Ireland, Cross Keys RFC, Sunday March 13 (2.30pm)
Ireland v England, Ashbourne RFC, Friday, March 18 (7.30pm)

Related Links –

Ireland Women’s Training Squad Announced