Sinnott shining in Enniscorthy RFC…
January 31, 2011 12:00 am Richard Blake
Since her days in Primary School Stella Sinnott has always been competitive especially when it came to sport…
Her first love was Camogie and she was lucky at the time to be part of her Club Buffers Alley who were very successful at that time. She represented her County at several grades and played in All Ireland finals with both her Club and County: “Maybe it was because there were a lot of us at home that we learned to handle ourselves and playing against the brothers hardened me up but I always hated loosing even from an early age”.
She was a tough tenacious defender when it came to Camogie and tough she may have been but she always played fair.
When she was at the height of her Camogie Career, she was also staring with Enniscorthy Hockey Club, a sport she played first in Secondary School.
Enniscorthy were very successful in that period culminating in an All Ireland Junior Cup win in 2001. “That was brilliant but again we had a committed bunch who drove themselves that bit further to achieve the ultimate. It is a lesson that has stood me in good stead since I turned to Management and Coaching because the reality is that you will not win any team sport without every player buying into the team ethos. No individual is good enough to win on his or her own.”
While she was playing, she was also on the First Aid Bag for the 1st team at Enniscorthy Rugby Club. She managed to miss very few games after 15 years on the bag “I loved getting involved in the Rugby because in my opinion it is the ultimate team game and also it is a game that suits all makes and shapes”, she added.
Stella also got involved as a selector with the Wexford Senior Camogie team in 2005 with Willie Carley a year after she retired from playing Hockey and she liked it. She eventually took over the team in 2007 and she took them all the way winning the All Ireland itself that year. “That was great because we got a fantastic response from the players and I was lucky to get a good background team with me. Yes we had a professional set up and all the players bought into it and a valuable lesson learned especially by me”.
Having always been interested in the Physiological element of Sport she says: “I have been studying Sports Physiology for a few years. Talking to the players individually is very important, working on them to buy into the team ethos is crucial because no individual player is the same. Some need a kick up the backside, others like to be told how good they are and then there are the quite ones who you might not have to worry about maybe just an arm around the shoulder”.
Stella stayed with the Wexford Senior Camogie team as manager for another two years and they came close again in 2009 when beaten by Cork in the semi final. “It was an amazing lesson for me. I might have stayed too long but I think once the girls had won one they though All Irelands would flow like a tap. Maybe I did too but I now realise that you have to work even harder after victory because the other teams will up their performance when they play Champions. I am delighted the girls won this year because I knew they were good enough to do so again”.
Enniscorthy Rugby Club approached Stella to become their Team Manager for their 1st team this season. This was seen by many as real thinking outside the box or others who had doubts.
Enniscorthy Club Chairman Paul McCrea explained: “Some people might have seen it as gimmick but we knew what Stella could bring to the job, a fresh approach one might say. She had serious credentials as both a player and was already a winning manager in her Camogie and Hockey days so we didn’t see it as a gamble in fact she has been brilliant. She knows the game and most importantly she has the respect of the players and the proof is in the eating as we are playing super stuff this season and are on course to get promoted and Stella has played an important part in that success”, he concluded.
Enniscorthy are in 2nd place in the Leinster League Division 1B just behind Garda. “When we started this year I was wondering what I had got myself into because we lost Sean Wall to Terenure,” Sinnott said. “Decky O’Brien had a long term injury and then our Captain Graham Murphy broke his ankle. But we did get Niall Cummins and Ross Barbour. Niall was just settling nicely but has now immigrated to Australia. The Club however has had an outstanding under age structure and already some of those lads are coming through the system very quickly so I am very hopeful for the future.
“I see my job as getting the team to gel on and off the field. I am able to offer my experience on a one to one with the players. It is a brilliant team game, is well structured and enjoyable to play. I think the GAA could learn a lot from how well it is organised”, she added.
“Rugby has long past the day when it was a social sport. It is now very well organised and is serious stuff. The lads put in a lot of effort. We are lucky to have such good coaches. Declan O’Brien is right up there with the best and former Leinster and Irish International Johnny Murphy brings years of experience to the Coaching set up. We knew we needed a backs coach and we brought in Damian McCabe as a player coach from De La Salle Palmerston and his experience has already added a considerable amount of experience to the mix “.
Stella Sinnott also started playing Golf in the summer months after she finished playing Hockey and again as before, success quickly came her way. She has already won three All Irelands with her Club, the recent win came last September when she was part of the Team that won the Junior All Ireland Title. This again proves that she is a born winner and ultra competitive.
Her outer calm exterior hides a steely determined individual. She doesn’t like being second best and that should benefit Enniscorthy’s ambitions for the future. Stella Sinnott is taken seriously up at Ross Road and the proof is in the results. “That is what I will be judged on results. I am really enjoying it and I hope we get promoted because the lads deserve it. We have a lot of talent on the periphery and the future looks bright but as with all clubs at the moment immigration is our biggest worry, sadly.”
Maybe other male Clubs could take a leaf out of Enniscorthy’s Rugby Clubs books? Ireland’s first Lady Male Rugby Team Manager has proven already that she is a success now that’s what we call thinking outside the box.