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There Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Galway Girl

There Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Galway Girl

There Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Galway Girl

Claire Molloy will captain the Ireland Women’s Sevens team in the FIRA/AER European Sevens Championship this weekend as they try to qualifyfor the 2013 Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens. The former Galway Gaelic footballer made the transition full-time to rugby when she went to college in Wales.

Claire Molloy joined Bristol Rugby Club while in college at Cardiff University and has played for Connacht. She made her Ireland debut at openside against France in the 2010 Women’s RBS 6 Nations and now has 21 caps to her name.

Over the last seven weeks, however, she has been part of a brand new Women’s Sevens programme that has the lofty ambition of qualifying for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens.

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Molloy was named captain of the sides that entered the Kinsale, Amsterdam and Rugby Rocks tournaments, so it is no surprise that she will captain the team in the most important event to date, although it was to her surprise initially.

“It is a massive honour firstly to be asked to captain the team. I didn’t expect it at all. There are other girls in the squad with more fifteens experience and caps,” she said.

“I think I am probably the link between the them and the new girls that have come into the Sevens squad.”

To date, and playing under the invitational name of ‘Irish Lightning’, the squad have won outright in Kinsale and at Rugby Rocks and they won the Plate competition in Amsterdam.

They have only lost two games in all those competitions and now find themselves in the strange position of being talked up by higher ranked teams.

“We performed well in losing to Spain, who have a dedicated Sevens programme in place and against Canada who are regulars on the circuit. Apart from that we have won all our games including an important one against Scotland,” added Molloy.

“This weekend is a bit of an unknown for us though as the Czech Republic and Poland are much higher up the rankings and they are not short of experience.”

Claire Molloy in action for Connacht

Molloy played football in school and represented Galway in a Ladies Football League final back in 2005.

She found the transition to rugby easy enough and thinks that Sevens could be even easier as there is more emphasis on speed, fitness and ball skills.

“There was no Gaelic football in Wales so rugby seemed a natural sport for me. I took to it well and was lucky to be picked for Connacht and then I was delighted when I made the Irish team.

“Training for Sevens has been different – even more fitness work than before – and a number of girls have made the squad who were not in the fifteen-a-side squad before, so it has really opened it up to more players.

“Sevens could be a real draw for female athletes. There are more summer tournaments and with matches spread out over two days everyone gets a chance to play and you get a chance to travel. Most importantly we are proud to represent Ireland everywhere we go.”

Molloy is excited at how the squad has progressed in such a short time and they are clearly ambitious for more success:

“We are a small squad and we are all really committed to making this work. We are a close knit group and the potential is there.

“We want to win and we want to qualify – it comes down to that. We will be really disappointed if we don’t. We know what we are capable of.”

Related Links –

Ireland Women’s Sevens Squad Named