The Irish ladies rugby team made history on Tuesday afternoon when they defeated New Zealand at the rugby world cup to move to the top of their group and they now look nailed on to progress to the semi final.
This is the first time ever that an Irish team have beaten New Zealand at senior level in the men’s or women’s game.
Speaking to the Inishowen Independent this week, Fahan woman Nora Stapleton who played a crucial role in the victory from out half said that the scale of the achievement was still sinking in. “To be honest I’m just coming back down to earth a little bit. “It took me a long time to sleep on Tuesday night,” she laughed.
Although the enormity of the achievement has not been lost on Stapleton, the Old Belvedere out half insists that they have to remain professional and thoughts have quickly turned to the third game in the group against Kazakhstan on Saturday. “We enjoyed the whole experience on Tuesday night and we did celebrate with the supporters after, but we were back in the pool on Wednesday morning for a recovery session and we are now fully focused on getting the right result on Saturday,” she insisted.
Although this result will have sent shockwaves around the world, Stapleton maintains that there has always been a belief within the group that they could go on and achieve something special. “Since we started training together as a group, which is going back a few years now, we always felt that we could go on and do wonderful things. “Our main aim before we got to the world cup was to get out of the group which we are in a good position to achieve, althogh we have to get a good result on Saturday,” said Stapleton.
When quizzed about her thoughts on her own personal performances, Stapleton believes she can take it up a notch. “I wasn’t very happy with the first game against USA and although I did play better against New Zealand, I feel that I can still improve and feel like I am slowly building as the tournament progresses,” she said.
To read more on Nora’s success click here.