Aimee Clarke has had a whirlwind year on the rugby pitch.
The latest ‘bolter’ in the Leinster Rugby Women’s squad, Clarke looks set to make her debut in blue this weekend when the Interprovincial Series gets underway against Ulster on Sunday.
Clarke began playing Gaelic football last season with the Dublin U17 squad, and says she initially ‘fell into rugby’ when she didn’t make this year’s Dublin minor side.
She decided to give rugby a try as recently as February of this year when she joined up with the U18s in Suttonians RFC. Following her second game for the club she was invited to a trial for the Leinster U18s 7s team and was ultimately selected.
This then set off a chain of events that saw her play 7s rugby for Ireland U18, winning a UK School Games 7s tournament.
Clarke also competed with the Leinster U18 Girls in this year’s Interprovincial Series where they defeated Ulster (22-5) and Connacht (38-22).
She then made her All-Ireland League debut with Railway Union RFC, all within the space of seven months.
“I went to one session [with Railway] and loved it, and in the following weeks I played my first AIL game against Galwegians,” said Clarke.
Aimee is the latest in a long line of young players to have been identified at club level, and has been supported by Suttonians RFC and most recently Railway Union.
Her story shows that with hard work and talent, the journey from picking up a rugby ball to representing your province and your country can be much shorter than you think.
If you would like to give rugby a try, find your local club with our Club Finder map.
The Leinster Women’s team get their Interprovincial Series campaign underway this weekend against Ulster. Read a preview ahead of this year’s tournament.
Leinster Women’s squad – 2017 Interprovincial Series
Carla Claassen (Navan RFC)
Ciara Cooney (Railway Union)
Linda Dempsey (Rathdrum)
Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere)
Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere)
Paula Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s) CAPTAIN
Orla Fitzsimons (St Mary’s)
Christy Haney (St Mary’s)
Oonagh Hynes (Old Belvedere)
Rachel Horan (CYM RFC)
Caoimhe Molloy (Gorey RFC)
Aoife McDermott (Railway Union)
Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union)
Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere)
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union)
Ann-Marie Rooney (Blackrock)
Juliet Short (Railway Union)
Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere)
Nicole Carroll (Suttonians)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock)
Aimee Clarke (Railway Union)
Eimear Corri (Blackrock)
Aine Donnelly (Old Belvedere)
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union) VICE-CAPTAIN
Maria Kenny (Old Belvedere)
Meaghan Kenny (Railway Union)
Ciara McDonnell (Garda/Westmanstown)
Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere)
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere)
Elise O’Byrne-White (Old Belvedere)
Meg Parkinson (Wicklow)
Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Garda/Westmanstown)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere)
Megan Williams (Old Belvedere)
2017/18 Women’s Interprovincial Series
Connacht v Munster, Sportsground, Saturday, 2nd December, 2.30pm
Ulster v Leinster, Dromore RFC, Sunday, 3rd December, 2pm
Leinster v Connacht, Donnybrook, Saturday, 9th December, 5pm
Munster v Ulster, Garryowen FC, Saturday, 9th December, 3pm
Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, Saturday, 16th December, 2.30pm
Ulster v Connacht, Belfast Harlequins, Saturday, 16th December, 3pm