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Trailblazers – First Ireland women’s team to play a rugby Test match helped to build stairway for future stars 

Sinead Kissane


When the Ireland women’s team played a rugby international for the first time in 1993, they barely knew each other. But they will forever be connected by that game against Scotland in Edinburgh

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The Ireland women's squad and coaches pictured ahead of their first Test against Scotland in February 1993

The Ireland women's squad and coaches pictured ahead of their first Test against Scotland in February 1993

The Ireland women's squad and coaches pictured ahead of their first Test against Scotland in February 1993

Twenty-one women sat on the steps of an old spiral stairway in a B&B in Edinburgh, Scotland on the night before Valentine’s Day in 1993. Every woman present said her name and the position she played. Introductions were needed because this was the first time they met as a group.

The Scottish lady who ran the guesthouse would come over and tell them that they had received another good luck message on the telephone from a well-wisher back home. They were on the eve of making history. The following day, they would become the first Ireland women’s rugby team to play an international game.


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