Swords Rugby Football Club was formed in July 2005, beginning as Aer Lingus RFC, then becoming ALSAA RFC, before changing to Swords RFC.
They are a small club but have been steadily growing since their formation. The club’s playing and training facilities have never changed but the new title is due to the fact that the club does not represent the airline or the sports ground anymore.
Furthermore, with the formation of the Swords Colts Youth teams, the club decided it was paramount to have a link between the underage and senior players of the club. For the youth to identify with the senior club, it was felt that going under one banner was the way forward.
Another reason for the change was the town of Swords itself which has grown significantly in recent decades. With the potential to tap into a large catchment area, it was felt that it would be in the club’s best interests to be associated with the town.
With both soccer and GAA already boasting strong participation in the area, Swords RFC set about setting out their stall and attracting the youth, who are the lifeblood of any sports club.
The most exciting development for Swords RFC came in summer of 2017 when the club saw there was an opportunity to start a senior women’s team of their own for women of all skill levels.
Also, off the back of the successful Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, interest for a women’s team in Swords began to grow.
The team currently have a squad of 17 players with most only taking up rugby this season.
Lara Joyce and Nicola Shiels are captain and vice-captain of Swords Women, respectively.
“The Swords team itself has been rooted in rugby for quite some time now through the men’s team so to be the first women’s captain is such an honour,” Joyce said.
“I am fortunate enough that there aren’t any real challenges in being captain, as it is such a great group of women who are truly committed to helping the game of rugby grow in Swords and for women – you cannot ask for a better team than that.”
Lara’s favourite part of playing rugby is being surrounded by supportive and fun people who love the game. There is such a dedication to the sport with each player always giving their all at training and on match days, and really putting in the effort to learn rugby while also getting to know each other and form friendships.
Lara emphasises that “when you get along with your teammates on and off the pitch it makes the team that much stronger. I am fortunate enough to have found that with the Swords Women’s Rugby team.”
Shiels became interested in rugby in her late teens, in a time when girl’s rugby wasn’t as prominent as it is now.
Unfortunately, she says she didn’t begin playing until she went travelling around Australia and New Zealand when she was in her twenties, playing tag with some teams in Wellington, New Zealand. It was only when she moved to Vancouver, Canada, that she started playing full-contact rugby with Capilano RFC and had a great experience playing with women from the Canadian national team.
As vice-captain, Shiels says she enjoys challenging herself to be a good leader to the other players on the team and supporting their captain.
“I am passionate about getting a great team of women together to play rugby but also to harness the positive influence that team sport can have on people, as I have seen what that influence can be personally,” Shiels said.
“This is one of my favourite parts of playing rugby.”
As they are a new team, Swords are currently playing in a development league and their matches will be starting up again in January 2018.
The club has great plans for the ladies for the 2018/2019 season. One of them is to sign a brand new sponsor just for their women’s team and of course, to get as many women as possible playing rugby.
The game of rugby in Ireland for females has grown significantly in the last 10 years, and it is always a great achievement for Women’s Rugby to see new clubs like Swords RFC encouraging female participants to give rugby a try.
The support the players receive all the way from the moment they pick up a rugby ball for the first time is crucial for their future development and their continuity in the sport.
Tireless efforts and a massive social media drive from all the club members helped to spread the word to all women in the area that this was the club for them. The ladies themselves will be doing player profiles on their social media channels starting in January 2018 so people can get to know the team.
If you think you would be interested in joining, Swords Women’s Rugby Club is always looking for new members and all skill levels are welcome. Their training sessions take place in ALSAA sports complex, which is next to the Dublin Airport, on Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm.
This is a super opportunity to achieve better fitness goals, become a part of a new team, learn a new skill and have great craic with some great girls!
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SwordsWomensRugby
Instagram: Swords Women’s Rugby