We caught up with our favourite ex-pats Brigid Reynolds and Hilary Quinn down in Cavan last weekend. New Zealander Quinn and American Reynolds had featured earlier in the season when they made their way onto the Ulster Ladies side for the Interpros in November.
The chirpy duo have taken their experience back to Cavan and it seems, with a late run of wins, that Ulster’s most southerly outpost may be one of the teams to watch next season.
So girls, how has the season panned out for Cavan?
Brigid: We had a big drop in playing numbers just before Christmas, so just after we had a team meeting where we posed the question, “Do we want to do this or don’t we?”. We decided we did and we put on a big push to get the playing numbers up again, to start showing up at practice and training hard. With the numbers came confidence and we tried to bring a lot of stuff back from Ulster to help the team.
Hilary: Our knowledge and our confidence from being involved with Ulster really spread through the team. Brigid is very good at talking…
Brigid: Might not be good at playing but I’m good at talking! (Laughs)
Hilary: …and she would be encouraging everyone which really helped. We got a big boost of confidence, especially with the few wins we had. Winning against Malahide 27 – 0 was a big highlight for me. It was a brilliant win and then today against Cill Dara.
Brigid: We took that confidence from the win against Malahide and decided if we can beat that team we can beat Cill Dara as well so long as we work together and focus.
Hilary: We’re a very defensive team.
Brigid: Yeah, we’re a great defensive team we hold our line well and we tackle well but because we don’t have the confidence and the experience in attack we have struggled there. We have been focusing on it and trying to keep the ball in hand and work overlaps but we’ve still a way to go. Today, to give Cill Dara their due, they only had 14 players, though they played like 15, and we didn’t work that extra player very much at all so we still have plenty to do. We’re hoping to get a few more of the girls up to Ulster training this year to try to boost their confidence in attack.
Hilary I’ve seen you play hooker and wing forward for Ulster, today you were playing second row and I hear you were out on the wing last week so what position are you looking to play next season?
Hilary: If I get back OK from New Zealand, and if I’m lucky enough to be asked to play for Ulster again I think I’ll try and play wing forward. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I’m maybe a little quicker and I feel too small for hooker and too small for lock. I didn’t enjoy playing winger though I just stood out there going yap, yap, yap and I wasn’t happy till I got back in the forwards.
And any positional changes for you Brigid?
Well I have been asked to consider prop. I’ve played lock and No. 8 for Ulster but I’d just be happy to play anywhere, whatever the team requires.
So what do you think Cavan need to do next year to continue their improvement.
Brigid: I think, Cavan as a team, we need to pick up our aggression.
Hilary: Yeah, a lot of people say we’re not aggressive. But that’s only confidence as well. Cavan have come a long way and it’s good to see. The numbers are improving, we had four subs today for the first time ever, and if we can keep up the numbers and pick up our aggression I think we’ll do well.
I just hope that this transcript captures all the enthusiasm of these two girls who have a real and genuine affection for Cavan and for their adopted province of Ulster. I wish them all the best for next season and I’ve already pencilled in a few trips to Co. Cavan Rugby Club for next season.