As part of our continued support and development of Women’s Rugby in Ulster The Front Row Union provide elite women rugby players with their required support under the banner of TeamFRU. Players in TeamFRU can access a variety of support mechanisms including financial support and health and welfare support including access to sports therapy treatment.

In order to grow the women’s game in the province we ask that the members of TeamFRU become involved with our coverage and they also receive training in media work and photography.

Following on from Brittany Hogan’s account with her time at Ireland 7s (which you can access here), we catch up with Ella Durkan about her about her experiences as a dual athlete and a member of TeamFRU.

Ella reports:

“This past summer I joined TeamFRU, and since then I have received support both on and off the pitch which has allowed me to develop as a player and has opened doors that otherwise wouldn’t have been available to me.

“I was part of the TeamFRU squad that travelled down to Tullamore in County Offaly, to compete in the Midland Midnight 7s Festival. Not only was it great craic all weekend, but it was also very beneficial for me to get the opportunity to play with and against Irish and Scottish internationals.

Ella in action for Ulster Women Rugby in the Interprovincal Series 2018.

“For me, TeamFRU has been a pioneer with its support of female athletes, and has helped in ways that other sports associations have never thought of. The Front Row Union has been a massive help to me personally, as it has helped with the demands that being a dual sport athlete entails.

Playing Rugby and Gaelic Football, I have found it very difficult to find a balance for the two, and have always struggled to manage the physical tole they took on my body. This summer it was particularly tough with my training in the build up to the Interprovincial Series, with the Ulster Women’s Rugby team, overlapping with my championship campaign with my Gaelic club, Bredagh GAC.

“Being a member of TeamFRU made this balancing act a lot easier, as I was able to get frequent sport massages, ensuring my body was able to keep up with the high demands that my increased my training load caused.

Ella and her Bredagh team mates after winning the Down Senior Ladies Championship 2018

“This last few weeks I have also started training to become a match day photographer, which has been a really good experience, as I always wanted to try it out, but never had the means to do so. Along side this I have been learning to edit and post the photos that I have taken at the matches I have attended, and I look forward to furthering my social media training with the help of Team FRU.”

Check out Ella’s Photographs from the recent Cooke v Old Belvedere match earlier this month below: