Former Ireland international Lindsay Peat continues to impress in Railway Union colours, scoring nine tries in the Energia All-Ireland League and Cup so far this season.
Peat, who made 38 appearances for Ireland before retiring from international rugby in 2022, is still enjoying playing the game at 43-years-old. She acknowledged that she is in the twilight of her playing career.
Reigning champions Railway will do battle with a resurgent UL Bohemian team in Saturday’s Energia All-Ireland Women’s Cup final at Coolmine RFC (kick-off 2.45pm – live on Irish Rugby TV). It is part of a double header with the Plate final between Galwegians and Cooke, and admission in Ashtown is €10.
Having become an accomplished prop over the years, the ever-versatile Peat is now a regular starter in the back row, combining it with her duties as Railway’s scrum coach. The chance of winning more trophies appeals to her still-burning desire to collect winners’ medals.
“I think it would mean the world to me (to win on Saturday),” she told IrishRugby.ie. “Some might say I’ve been threatening to retire for a few years now, but for me, I’m at the point in my career where I’m near the end.
“I have to take it one game at a time. Personally, for me, I think it will be one of the last cup finals I ever play in. (To win it again) would be great for everybody in the club that has put in so much work into things over the last number of years.
“For Katie O’Dwyer (pictured below), earning her 100th cap for Railway this weekend. It’s a big moment for her and her family. It would be great to mark the occasion with a win.”
Railway are chasing an All-Ireland Cup three-in-a-row, having beaten UL Bohs 51-12 and 28-12 in the 2022 and 2023 finals respectively. Peat, who scored a try in both games, is under no illusions about how hard the task ahead of them is.
Bohs have been in flying form of late, winning nine straight matches and picking up seven try-scoring bonus points to sit at the top of the league table midway through the season. Returning head coach Fiona Hayes is getting her beloved club back towards their best.
Railway and the Red Robins have 10 players each on matchday duty in the Celtic Challenge this weekend, with Railway’s Molly Boyne captaining the unbeaten Wolfhounds again, and Bohs club-mates, the in-form Kate Flannery and Abbie Salter-Townshend, combining at half-back for the Clovers.
Ennis RFC product Chisom Ugwueru, the All-Ireland League’s runaway top try scorer with 13 tries, is also set to make her Clovers debut off the bench. Peat has praised some of the country’s smaller clubs for getting these players ready for the jump to AIL level.
“Bohs’ resurgence is no surprise really. A lot of the feeder clubs around Munster deserve credit for the level that they’ve brought the players up to, until the point they decided to join UL.
“They all deserve a shoutout, no more than the parent clubs for the players that have come into Railway over the years.”
Highlighting some of UL’s strengths, she continued: “They’ve looked to kick a lot recently, but the game-plan might be different considering Kate Flannery isn’t available for selection. They like to kick for territory.
“They’re certainly able to take the ball up front. Chloe Pearse and Clodagh O’Halloran will take a huge responsible there. Chisom is back from injury I believe (but involved with the Clovers), and Aoife O’Shaughnessy, who was with us last season, has plenty of experience too.
“They’ll be strong physically and be able to spread the ball out wide when they need to, getting it to their pacy athletes. They’ll have us scouted, the set-piece will be important. I think we’re slight underdogs, but we’re okay with that.”
She namechecked the likes of former Galwegians winger Rhiann Heery, along with ‘raw’ Kildare Gaelic football talent Sarah Munnelly, who is taking her opportunity to impress. They are both real speedsters who look dangerous any time they get their hands on the ball.
Peat, the Rugby Players Ireland Women’s 15s Player of the Year in 2017, is enjoying offering advice to some of the younger players. She believes her game understanding has come on a lot more due to her media work, coaching and match analysis.
It’s funny, I feel like my game understanding has only really developed since I left international rugby. I’ve been in a privileged position through podcasts or different bits of analysis where I’ve got to see the game in a different light.
“I wish I had some of this knowledge in my playing days. I’m really eager to pass those tips on to girls, whether it’s running the right lines or knowing when a ruck is won or lost.
“Even the technicalities around that ruck. All those little things. I’m just one of many experienced players in the team.
John Cronin was a massive contributor to Railway’s success over a brilliant 12-year period. He stepped down from his director of rugby role at the of last season’s league. He is considered by many as one of the best brains in Irish Women’s rugby, and his influence was key to Peat’s development as a player.
When asked if she would like to immerse herself more in the coaching world, the driven Dubliner, who reached elite levels as a player in four different sports, replied: “I would probably prefer to come in as a forwards coach or maybe a skills coach as part of a team.
“It’s easier within a group, you all see the game from a different angles. I’m still hugely energetic and very competitive, so until that side of me goes and I settle down a bit, I don’t think I can fully immerse myself as a coach.
“I think as a coach you need plenty of patience, and I need to see the evolution of myself before I can become that coach.”