Blackrock College Women’s Rugby team has had a great run of successful seasons over the last few years…

With the ending of last season brought about many changes to the Rock side, as many players felt it was time to hang up the boots and cheer from the sidelines.

Blackrock women farewell six honorable members to retirement; Shirley Corcoran, Orla Brennan, Debbie Clarke, Melissa Slevin, Julie Doyle and Sinead Delaney. ‘Rock also lost another two to transfers Grace Davitt to Cooke RFC and Yvonne Nolan returns to Old Belvedere to become player/coach.

All eight players have represented Leinster during their playing career.

Shirley Corcoran is a true blood Rock, having only ever played for Blackrock, has worn the jersey proud for nine strong years. Throughout that time Shirley’s favourite memory is the joy of winning the All Ireland league final. Shirley has represented Leinster and ‘Rock on numerous occasions. She is a true leader always leading from the front row. For Shirley Rock rugby still comes down to having good times with good friends with some pain thrown in for good measure. Without rugby Shirley is looking forward to a future without physio bills!

Orla Brennan, who holds 47 caps for Ireland and is often referred to as Trevor Brennan’s cousin, has played with Rock for six years. She left her origins of Navan to join ‘Rock and we are eternally glad she did! Orla’s sweetest memory wearing the blue and white stripes was watching teammate Grace Davitt scoring the winning drop kick against UL Bohs to win the AIL final. Brenan’s passion and heart will be missed on the pitch. She has loved her time in Rock and will continue her sporting success as she embarks on her new challenge of triathlons.

Sinead Delany has represented Rock at club and provincial level. Sinead played for Leinster and Blackrock in the number twelve jersey. Sinead started with Boyne and then came to Rock. Sinead’s great power and speed saw her touchdown for Rock on many occasions.

Melissa, Debbie and Julie fall into a different form of retirement. As these ladies are all expecting a new bundle of joy this leaves the question will they return?

Melissa has played with Blackrock for nine years, an original with Corcoran. She has helped build and develop the team bringing it from strength to strength. This lock has plenty of strength and determination so we hope she may take to the Blackrock pitches again in the future.

Debbie Clarke has brought great pride to Blackrock, representing Ireland and Leinster with teammate retiree Orla in the back-row. Clarke is known for her hard hitting tackles and her ability to always break the gain-line. Debbie’s favourite memory in the ‘Rock jersey is the joy and excitement of winning the AIL Final. Debbie’s dynamic and fearless style of play will be missed this season but we know she has kept a few bits of training gear for ‘just in case’.

Julie Doyle is our queen of the N7, alas finally the mileage became too much. Julie has represented Leinster and Blackrock for two years. Julie originally started with Newbridge but then made the move to ‘Rock. Within Rock her pace, power and skill set found her floating between the back three positions.

With many retirements, this brings change to every team. Blackrock will now face into a new year of transition, with emerging new faces and talent breaking through.

Everyone in Blackrock would like to thank all our retirees for their commitment to women’s team over the years. We wish you all the very best of luck in the future and you will be missed dearly on the pitch. But remember this is one decision we will always let you change your mind on!