by Aoife O’Callaghan
Aoife O’ Callaghan is a journalism graduate from the University of Limerick and is part of the PRO team at Dolphin RFC. In November 2021 Aoife participated in an IRFU pilot programme aimed at giving female journalism students practical media experience at international match days for both the men’s and women’s international fixtures. Aoife is currently exploring opportunities within sports journalism.
As 2021 draws to a close and the new year beckons more often than not we choose to reflect on the year that has just passed.
For Dolphin RFC, based just a stone’s throw away from Musgrave Park, this was a historic year.
2021 saw the formation of Dolphin Women’s Rugby, a first competitive female section in the club’s 120 year history.
With chairperson Jane O’ Leary at the helm and managers Sorcha Healy and Debbie Linn by her side the teams began to train at the end of April.
Fast forward only a mere eight months later and the women’s section has officially hit 100 members. For a side that was established in the midst of a global pandemic, reaching this milestone is something every player, coach and committee member should be proud of.
But this is not the first time the club has welcomed female players onto the hallowed Musgrave Park turf. There were attempts made in the 80’s and once more in the early 2010’s but neither took off.
This time around however there are multiple strong teams representing the club in minis, under-12s, under-14s, under-16s, under-18s and at senior level.
Speaking with Senior Women’s captain Christine O’ Keeffe regarding this major milestone, she said: “Even though this team only started up just over six months ago I feel like we have built a really good foundation for the future of Women’s Rugby here in Dolphin.
“Between the players and the atmosphere it is just such a nice club to play with. It’s been a hard year with everything that’s been going on but having the training and matches has made everything a lot easier.”
Senior hooker Karla Doyle agreed wholeheartedly with what O’ Keeffe said. Doyle then added:
“Playing rugby at Dolphin has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. In the few short months that we’ve been established I have met the most amazing group of girls, all of whom are now becoming my lifelong friends.”
Lucia Linn, who lines out for the clubs under 18s, said:
“Playing for Dolphin means so much to me. It’s such an amazing club where both the female and male game are given equal opportunities.
“The support from everyone in the club is amazing and makes everyone feel so welcome. Dolphin has such an amazing community spirit, it makes everyone so proud to wear the jersey.
“The growth of the girls side of the club has been fantastic to see. It’s amazing to see so many young girls interested in starting rugby as it’s such a great sport for girls to play. I think the enthusiasm from all the coaches and management has really helped the club grow and they have created such a healthy environment where everyone feels welcome.”
With teams ranging from minis right up to senior, this city side is only going to continue to grow over the coming years. With the talented crop of players they have, the future of Dolphin Women’s Rugby is certainly bright.