Grand Slam winner Joy Neville has today announced her retirement from playing after a decade of dedication and hard hitting tackles.
Capped 70 times for Ireland, Joy Neville was a key member of the historic Grand Slam-winning squad this year. Joy started her career with UL Bohemians and has gone on to captain both club and country during that time.
Known for her hard running and hard tackling, she also took pride in being an advocate for Women’s rugby as the sport has grown in recent years.
Speaking about her playing career, Joy said: “Today I announce my retirement from a sport that has given me endless challenges, great entertainment and amazing achievements – none more memorable than our Grand Slam victory which was 11 years in the making.
“Throughout my years involved with the Irish team I can categorically state that I would not have had dedicated the last decade of my life to this sport if it were not for those whom I had the pleasure to play alongside.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone and most importantly past players who laid the foundation. All who fought for the Women’s team through thick and thin which provided us with our strong platform that we have attained.
“I would also like to thank the current squad who I have shared so many emotions with, all the management, medical staff, my wonderful family who were always there to support me both on and off the pitch, my friends who always understood when I could not celebrate their big moments, our wonderful supporters who always stuck in there with the Irish team through good times and hard.”
Ireland Women’s head coach Philip Doyle paid tribute to Joy on her retirement, saying: “Joy is an exceptional rugby player and her talent and ability had a huge impact on every game.
“Her selfless playing style was always for the good of the team. She has left a lasting impression not only to the squad but on Women’s rugby in general.
“She will be sorely missed and we wish her all the best in her career as coach and an incredible ambassador for the sport.”
Looking forward to the future, Joy will still be involved in rugby. “Now I look forward to the next chapter of my life which I hope to continue as director of rugby in Limerick Institute of Technology and an ambassador for Irish ladies rugby with Euro Rugby tours,” she added.
“I hope to look back in 10 years’ time and see a vibrant and healthy Women’s rugby scene, with the ultimate aim of witnessing Irish Women’s rugby becoming professional.”
Joy will don her club colours one more time when she lines out for UL Bohemians next Thursday in Annacotty against Canadian side Red Deer Titans.