Ireland’s Greatest Female Athletes

Ireland is a country that embodies the ideology of ‘playing for pride’. The jersey worn for club, county and country has deep reverence for fans and players. Trophies, medals and titles come from nothing less than many hours of blood, sweat and often tears. Despite this, female athletes and teams do not get the publicity or funding they deserve. Every newspaper, radio station and major television station are covered with news of men’s fixtures, matches and match results with only major women’s games getting a mention every so often. 

Ireland has many accomplished athletes across many fields (no pun intended) but it is important to recognise these ladies who are a credit to the world of sport and themselves. 

Sophie Spence 

She originally played netball but found her feet in rugby. Born in South Shields, UK but with family roots in Ireland, Spence moved across the water to play in the green jersey. Helping Ireland towards their Grand Slam victory in 2013 and Six Nations win in 2015 earned Spence a nomination for World Rugby Player of the Year. She also took part in Aviva’s Mini Rugby season, teaching young players new skills. Sophie works as a Rugby Development Officer here in DCU and also coaches the ladies first and second teams. 

 

Annalise Murphy 

After a heart-breaking 4th place at the London 2012 Olympics, Murphy went on to achieve gold at the European Championships in her native county, Dublin less than a year later. Despite being told she ‘shouldn’t bother’ by many fellow sailors, Annalise went on to win herself and Ireland a silver medal in the Rio Olympics.  

 

 

Gráinne Dwyer 

A formidable force on the basketball court, Gráinne has represented her country on numerous occasions including the FIBA European 3v3 Championships in 2014 and 2015 in Moscow and Baku respectfully. Reaching the quarter final, only to be defeated by a strong Russian side. At home with her club Team Ambassador UCC Glanmire she has 4 senior National Cup medals and 2 MVP awards. 

 

Nina Carberry  

Daughter of racing hero Tommy Carberry, Nina has competed in the Grand National a total of five times and took the title in 2011. She is one of only three female jockeys to win the world famous race. In 2013 she became assistant to trainer Noel Meade and appeared in RTE’s documentary the ‘Irish Road to Cheltenham’. 

 

 

 

 

Lindsay Peat 

Lindsay is a familiar face around DCU, having graduated from her B.Sc. in P.E. and Biology two years ago. During her time at in the university she played on the Division One Varsity team and the O’Connor cup football squad. Off campus she was a DCU Mercy Super League player, captain of Irish Senior Basketball team, Dublin football player, rugby provincial and international. The lists goes on. 

  

Katie Taylor 

She’s an Olympic gold medallist, a five time World Champ and a six time European winner in the 60kg weight division. With her father, boxing legend Pete Taylor as her coach, Katie began training at the age of eleven in her local club in Bray, Co Wicklow. Today, Katie has recently turned professional and shown her achievements in boxing are unparalleled.  

 

 

Men and women play sports by the same rules, on the same ground and for the same reasons. All should be offered equal promotion and support. This is not just a list of talented sportswomen but some of Ireland's greatest athletes. 

Thumbnail by Abigail Keenan

 All photos by https://www.sportsfile.com/