This Friday sees Ireland take on England in the women’s Six Nations. Why not come out and support our girls in green, in Ashbourne RFC (KO: 7:30pm)? Maz Reilly will be one of the squad looking to upset England…

Name: MARIE LOUISE REILLY
Nickname: MAZ
DOB: 01/04/1980
Clubs: OLD BELVEDERE 2010/11 (PREVIOUSLY NAVAN 2005-10 and TRALEE 2005)
Province: LEINSTER
Position: 2ND ROW (PREVIOUSLY A FULL BACK!)

Why did you choose Rugby?

WHILE IN COLLEGE IN TRALEE, THE LOCAL CLUB WERE SHORT A FEW PLAYERS FOR A MATCH AND ONE OF THE PLAYERS ASKED IF I’D GO ALONG TO MAKE UP THE NUMBERS…. I’VE BEEN PLAYING EVER SINCE.

At what age/level did you start?

I THINK I WAS AROUND 24/25 WHEN I STARTED PLAYING AT CLUB LEVEL WITH TRALEE RFC.

Why did you decide to try out for the provincial team?

MY COACH IN TRALEE TOLD ME ABOUT THE PROVINCIAL TEAMS AND THOUGHT I SHOULD GIVE IT A GO.

Was Leinster a team you always wanted or was any province up for grabs?

I HAD FINISHED COLLEGE IN TRALEE AND HAD MOVED BACK TO MEATH SO LEINSTER WAS THE NATURAL CHOICE

What was your greatest moment playing for Leinster so far?

PLAYING ON THE SAME NAVAN TEAM AS MY SISTER

EACH YEAR ALWAYS THROWS UP SOME MEMORABLE MOMENTS AND ALL THOSE INVOLVED MAKE EACH YEAR UNIQUE BUT THE ’09 SEASON DESERVES SPECIAL MENTION……. FANTASTIC STRENGTH & CONDITIONING, QUALITY COACHING AND MANAGEMENT, SUPERB COMMITMENT FROM PLAYERS AND A GOOD FEW LAUGHS ALONG THE WAY. IT REALLY WAS A TERRIFIC EXPEREINCE, I LEARNT LOADS AND IT REALLY HELPED ME DEVELOP AS A PLAYER.

How did it feel to get picked for the Irish squad for the first time?

SHOCK……. NERVES………EXCITEMENT!
JUST DELIGHTED AS I KNEW MY FAMILY WOULD BE VERY PROUD.

What was your greatest moment playing for Ireland so far?

2010 WAS MY FIRST YEAR PLAYING FOR IRELAND BUT IT WAS JAM-PACKED WITH GREAT MOMENTS……… FIRST CAP AGAINST ITALY, PLAYING IN THE 100th IRISH TEST MATCH AGAINST ENGLAND, FINISHING 7TH IN THE WORLD CUP AND HAVING THE PRIVILEGE TO SHARE THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE WITH GREAT PLAYERS, A FANTASTIC MANAGEMENT TEAM, UNBELIEVEABLE SUPPORTERS AND LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST….. MY FAMILY.

What are you looking forward to most and least to in the Six Nations?

I’M MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO HOPEFULLY HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO PULL ON THE GREEN JERSEY AGAIN AND ……I’M LEAST LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING TO HAND IT BACK.

How did you react to losses in the early years as opposed to now? Did they help you develop a certain mind set?

I WAS STOOD BEHIND THE FENCE AS A SUPPORTER IN THE EARLY DAYS …….. BUT IN TERMS OF A MIND SET WHEN REPRESENTING IRELAND, I SUPPOSE SINEAD RYAN (NAVAN, BLACKROCK, LEINSTER & IRELAND) SET THE TONE WHEN SHE SAID THAT “NO MATTER HOW HARD IT GETS, JUST REMEMBER WHAT JERSEY YOU HAVE ON YOUR BACK…”

Did you have any rugby role models that you followed when you were younger?

NOT REALLY BUT I THINK THAT THE FIRST RUGBY PLAYER THAT STOOD OUT WAS DAVID CAMPESE. THERE SEEMED TO BE A BUZZ OF EXPECTATION WHENEVER HE GOT THE BALL.

Since growing up have you had a chance to meet that role model and did they offer you any advice?

I’LL LET YOU KNOW WHEN I GROWN UP…..

What was your hardest competition to win that gave you the most satisfaction?

MOST RECENTLY IT WAS THE XBOX KINECT DANCE CENTRAL GAME…… I BEAT MY NIECES REBECCA, AOIBHE AND CARA……. GOOD TIMES!

Do you recall who your hardest opponent has been?

I THINK THAT EVERY OPPONENT HAS SOMETHING TO OFFER BUT TWO STANDOUT PERFORMERS ON A NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL STAGE ARE:
FI COGHLAN……… DETERMINED, COMMITTED, SKILLFUL, CONSTANTLY STRIVING TO RAISE STANDARDS AND ALWAYS LOOKING TO PLAY AT 8…OR….7……OR….10.
JOY NEVILLE…. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT SHE’S GOING TO DO, WHETHER IT BE A SIDE-STEP, DUMMY, SNEAKY BACK PASS OR JUST WEARING ILLUMINOUS YELLOW BOOTS……… A FORMIDABLE PLAYER!

Do you have a certain training routine/programme that you follow to stay at top level?

WE RECEIVE A TRAINING PROGRAMME WHEN WITH THE IRISH TEAM WHICH INVOLVES STRENGTH & CONDITIONING, SPRINT & ENDURANCE WORK AND BETWEEN TRAINING CAMPS WE ALSO TRY TO PRACTICE OUR RUGBY SPECIFIC SKILLS – PASSING, KICKING, ETC

What advice would you give to other women who wish to follow in your footsteps?

GET INVOLVED, GIVE IT A GO, KEEP TRYING TO IMPROVE AND HAVE AS MUCH FUN AS POSSIBLE ALONG THE WAY.

Final Words?

IF IN DOUBT ….. KICK IT!!