Irish international women’s rugby player Ciara Griffin hails from the humble village of Ballymac, Co. Kerry. Ciara may be only one woman but she is certainly not one dimensional. For someone who has just recently hit the age of 23, (this explains her nickname ‘Junior’) she is juggling more than most between sports, progression in her career of teaching/lecturing and part-time farming.
She made her international debut against Wales during the 2016 Six Nations. She plays with her rugby club UL Bohemian in Limerick where she plays back row (six and seven). Ciara plays her provincial rugby with Munster and has done so since U-18s. Her main position is seven. She plays international rugby with the Irish women’s rugby team where her predominant position is six in the back row also.
HC: How and when did your interest in rugby begin?
CG: We were always a big rugby house growing up with my Dad (Denis Griffin) involved in rugby locally. This fed into us here at home so rugby was a big sport in our house. Mom and Dad always encouraged us to be fit and active and rugby was a great way to do that. My sister Fiona and I would always play mini-rugby tournaments out on the lawn or just pass the ball between one another. I’d say I first started playing rugby at the age of five or six with my sister.
HC: Did you always have the goal in mind of playing for Ireland?
CG: Yes, definitely. Growing up playing sport you always want to pull on the green jersey and it was a goal I set myself from when I started playing underage with Castleisland. It was great having local internationals to look up to like Helen Brosnan from Ballymac and Siobhan Fleming from Currow. I really wanted to wear the Munster Jersey as well so they were two goals I set out very early. I’m just very lucky I’m getting to live out my dream playing the sport I love at both International and Provincial levels with a great group of women and friends.
HC: What advice would you give to women playing sports, especially those aspiring for playing nationally/internationally?
CG: One big piece of advice would be to enjoy the sport you’re playing, as if you don’t find it fun it can be quite difficult going out training on cold nights or missing family gatherings. Also, have a good support unit around you who will always offer encouragement and support in what you are doing. I know from my own experience I would not be getting to opportunities I have now without the constant support of my family, friends and boyfriend.
HC: What are your hopes for the future of women’s rugby?
CG: I hope the women’s game continues to grow and develop with more girls taking up the sport at a young age. I hope more clubs will set up girls and women’s teams in parallel to their men’s teams also.
HC: What are your interests outside of rugby?
CG: Outside of rugby, I love farming at home with my dad or with my uncle in Cordal. I find it a great outlet to get peace of mind and just forget about sport for a while. A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I love to cook and bake. I find cooking really enjoyable and love making home cooked meals. Baking is something I’ve gotten from my Nana and is something I love to do. Unfortunately, I can’t bake too much mid-season as you can imagine!
It is no doubt Ms. Griffin has a continued life of success ahead of her and we wish her all the best in everything she pursues.