Blackrock College RFC star Hannah O’Connor says her club’s supporters will be in full voice at the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Finals on Saturday.
“It’s what you play for,” she told IrishRugby.ie. “You want to be in the big showpiece days in Energia Park, under lights, on TV and have our family, friends and supporters come up and watch it.”
“The support has been massive with the other teams in the club coming along and getting behind us. They’re making a chant book for Saturday!”
Blackrock College meet near neighbours Railway Union in the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Final at 7:30pm – the third of three games taking place on February 26th at Energia Park.
Railway are the defending champions and finished top of the table in the pre-Christmas format. ‘Rock meanwhile have stepped up a gear in the top four round-robin winning five from five of their games.
“Since the turn of the new year, we’ve been about progression, building and growth as a team,” says Hannah. “It was about shutting out the outside noise too – it wouldn’t matter who we were playing – it was literally about us making ourselves better and pushing each other on.”
“Having two women’s teams has been absolutely crucial to our development as a whole squad, as well. The bit of spice in training is what we want and it’s been key in getting us to where we’ve gotten this week. We’re pushing on, pushing each other.”
Players with international ambitions could be hoping that their performances in the Energia All-Ireland League put them in the shop window for places in the Ireland squad ahead of the 2022 TikTok Six Nations Championship. O’Connor says it’s no one can afford to look that far ahead.
“You have to look after your position in your club first. I don’t think anyone is thinking too much outside of that because nobody’s place is guaranteed. Right through 1-15 , no-one is guaranteed a jersey and we’ve said that from the beginning of January. You have to fight for your jersey and you have to do your best for your team and that’s what’s been working really well for us.”
“The competition for that match day 23 is ferocious. It’s going to be a real tough week in that regard.”
Team news for Saturday’s games will be announced on Friday.
Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Finals:
Saturday, February 26 –
Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Final, Blackrock College v Railway Union, Energia Park, 7.30pm
Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Conference Final, Suttonians v Galwegians, Energia Park, 4.45pm
Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division 3rd-4th Place Play-Off, UL Bohemian v Old Belvedere, Energia Park, 2pm