Over the next few weeks we look forward to introducing you to some of Leinster’s top flight female players who have made this year’s national squad for the upcoming RBS 6 Nations championship…

This year’s championship should be thrilling after Ireland had one of their best season to date in last year’s 6 Nations championships finishing third and improving their world ranking in the women’s world cup to 7th position. This season see’s Ashbourne RFC as the home fortress where they will take on France (Friday 11th Feb, 7.30pm) and the might of England (Friday 18th March, 7.30pm). So remember to come out and support our girls in green. And who better to introduce you all to first, the Irish Women’s fearless leader, FIONA COGHLAN a long serving member of both the Leinster and Ireland set ups.

Name: Fiona Coghlan
DOB: 3rd March 1981
Club: UL Bohemian RFC
Province: Leinster
Position: Prop

Why did you choose Rugby? My family would have always supported Clontarf and gone to International games and I was a sports mad as a teenager and tried everything but it was until I went to University of Limerick that I got the opportunity to try rugby. It was fresher’s week and you sign up for everything. To be honest at the start training was pretty technical and all I wanted to do was play a match so I didn’t think I would stick with it but once I played my first match I was hooked.

At what age/level did you start? College Rugby, a great place to start and learn the basics.

Why did you decide to try out for the provincial team? I originally was training with Munster after my first year playing but didn’t make the match-day squad, and then I heard about Leinster and trialled the following year and have been part of the furniture since.

Was Leinster a team you always wanted or was any province up for grabs? To be honest I just wanted to play.
What was your greatest moment playing for Leinster so far? The 2009 season was amazing, the final was never played due to weather but it was such a great year. The commitment and intensity given by everyone was phenomenal, the training was excellent, and there was just a great buzz in the squad.

How did it feel to get picked for the Irish squad for the first time? I was originally asked to come and be an extra number at training prior to the 2002 World Cup. I knew I was just there as a tackle bag but I didn’t mind I just soaked up all the information I was given. It made be more determined that I wanted to play for Ireland.

How did you react to losses in the early years as opposed to now? Did they help you develop a certain mind set? A loss is a loss; you are never ok with it. However there are always things that can be learned from losing, normally more than when you win.

Did you have any rugby role models that you followed when you were younger? I remember when I was younger before I started playing, watching Simon Geoghan with his lovely blonde locks flying down the wing but I didn’t have any role models in my teenage years. Since I have begun playing there are a number of players that I have a huge amount of respect for , their drive and commitment to achieve the best they can be, both in the Women’s and Men’s game.

Do you recall who your hardest opponent has been? Within the Irish game, my hardest opponent was possibly Marie Barrett of Munster, she is so determined and head-strong that there was always a battle on the pitch, however that is one of the great things about rugby, when it came to Ireland we got on great and helped each other out.

Do you have a certain training routine/programme that you follow to stay at top level? You would have club training once/twice a week, two weights sessions an endurance and a speed session. Sometimes it means training before work and then again after, a lot depends what stage in the season it is. So you really do have to be committed to it.
What advice would you give to other women who wish to follow in your footsteps? Work hard and most importantly enjoy.

Any Final Words? If you have any interest at all give it a try.