Sport Rugby

Monday 22 January 2018

Dual star Tyrrell eager to make impact on Irish debut

Hannah Tyrrell
Hannah Tyrrell
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It was a decision she didn't want to have to make but when Hannah Tyrrell was offered a Sevens contract with Ireland, her footballing days with Dublin were put on hold.

The 24-year-old, who has represented Dublin at various levels for the last 10 years, only took up rugby in September 2013 but 17 months later, she is preparing to make her full international debut in Ireland's opening Six Nations game in Italy tomorrow at the Stadio Mario Lodigiani in Florence.

Tyrrell was the Dubs' starting goalkeeper in last year's league campaign but as soon as the opportunity to play for her country presented itself, she jumped at it.

Opportunity

"I didn't want to make that decision obviously because I love playing GAA with Dublin, it's been a huge part of my life," Tyrrell said.

"To be honest, they taught me a lot of my rugby skills that I have now but leaving that team was really, really hard.

"But for me, the opportunity to try and qualify for the Olympics with the Sevens team is something that you can't say no to. I would hope that when my rugby career is over, I'll go back to my club, maybe even my county and hopefully win an All-Ireland."

For now, those aspirations are firmly put to one side as she sets her eyes on tomorrow's clash in Florence. Tyrrell is one of six uncapped players named in the match-day squad by Tom Tierney.

"The environment is very different to GAA. They look at it much more from a performance aspect," Tyrrell explained.

"Everything is looked at in terms of recovery, players' wellness and fatigue. Everything is managed so that you're not tired coming in every day.

"It's not just what happens on the pitch but everything else behind the scenes is really well set up for you as well."

There has been a major changing of the guard since last year's World Cup when Ireland finished fourth but Tyrrell is determined to hit the ground running.

"I'm very excited for my debut but also very nervous," she admitted.

"But once the first ball is kicked to me, or I get my first pass or tackle in, I'll be fine. There's a bit more of an added pressure with the high balls because if I drop the ball as a goalkeeper, it won't look great! It came as a big shock to me to even make the 23 so I'm just very happy and looking forward to going out there and getting the win."

Ireland ( v Italy) - N Briggs; H Tyrrell, J Murphy, J Shiels, A Miller; N Stapleton, L Muldoon; R O'Reilly, G Bourke, A Egan; M Louise Reilly, S Spence; P Fitzpatrick, C Molloy, H O'Brien. Reps: S Mimnagh, F Hayes, F O'Brien, O Fitzsimons, K Norris, T Rosser, K Fitzhenry, S Naoupu.

Irish Independent

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