Set up in 2004 following Rosie’s tragic death in 2003. Rosie lost her battle against Breast Cancer at the age of 33. She left behind her loving husband Adrian, her parents, sister and two brothers, as well as many, many, friends.
Having played rugby now for 14 years, and I can honestly say that of all the people I have met and befriended throughout, Rosie remains the one person whose persona epitomises the “Spirit of Rugby”. Upon joining Cooke WRFC she was one of the first to welcome me. I remember her making sure the kit, water bottles, coaches and players were all in place. Then she would get onto the pitch and play with an undying passion for the game. After playing she’s be the first to interact and mingle with the opposition, and instigate a sing song, as well being particularly adept at downing a pint of beer, helpful in any boat race!
Rosie started out playing at full back, but as she gathered experience she worked her way into the back row where she was best suited. Her tireless work ethic saw her play many times for Ulster, and she got capped for her country four times between February 1999 to March 2000. This was particularly fortunate for me, as I took on the Irish Captaincy at the time, and Rosie sat beside me in post match meals making sure I didn’t forget anyone in my speeches! As well as having fun and making sure everyone else was enjoying themselves she worked hard behind the scenes, securing major sponsorship deals for her Club and Ulster provincial side, and she was ever present on both the club and Ulster Women’s Committee. She managed all this effortlessly along with her full time job as a geo-physical engineer.
I have a quote from a journalist, who knew Rosie, which sums things up quite well:
“In relation to Rosie there are only two groups of people, those who knew her and those who didn’t. For those of us privileged to be in the first category nothing needs to be said, for we shared the same treasure, experienced the same enrichment in our lives. For those unfortunate to have missed out, nothing can be said, for words one-dimensional as they are, cannot convey the true extent of Rosie’s charisma and compassion, her goodness, generosity and geniality.”(Richard Bullick 2003)
The Rosie Stewart Cup, and its journey to date, signifies the growth of Women’s Rugby within the province of Ulster. It started out its life being won by Cooke WRFC in the 2004/05 season, of which Rosie was a founding member of in the early 1990’s. In its second season 2005/06 the cup found a new home with Enniskillen WRFC. This was something Rosie would be proud of as it was evidence of the growing strength of Women’s Rugby within the province. The Cup currently sits with Lisburn’s Youth Team. After some deliberation the Ulster Committee decided it would be fitting to pass the Cup to our new thriving youth section. Thus, in the season of 2006/07 Lisburn won the Cup against tough opposition. The growth of the youth structure over the past few seasons would have undoubtedly brought a smile to Rosie’s face. This season 2007/2008 however, it has come back to be played by the senior teams in Ulster, and I would like it to return to Rosie’s own club, Cooke. But that privilege will be down to the Cooke players to make it happen. In her absence I hope the Cup is a lasting reminder to us all of the “Spirit of Rugby”.
Yours in rugby,
Suzanne FlemingCooke Captain 2007/2008
Definition of the Spirit of Rugby
The Spirit of Rugby describes people’s love of the game – its rich history, traditions, camaraderie, high standards of behaviour, community involvement and the feelings of national pride it evokes.How well do you uphold the spirit of Rugby on and off the field?
(Quote from www.rugby.com)