12 Dec, 17:21
Munster Rugby recently held a Clare Schools U16 blitz at Ennis in Lees Road, Co. Clare.
From the first training session I was hooked, and distinctly remember Fi Coughlan (Irish Women's captain) scaring the life out of me and Caro Mahon (fellow Irish player) being exactly the opposite.
Sarah Jane Belton and DJ Collins were my first coaches with UL so I was very lucky to have access to such a high level of coaching and experience from the start.
When I joined UL Bohemians later that year I had two more excellent coaches with Ian Costello and Packie Durkan. Packie still maintains he made me the prop I am today and was my advocate from the start, and to be honest I cannot argue with that!
I've been very lucky to have excellent teammates and coaches with all the teams I have been a part of, each of which have contributed to making me a better rugby player.
I am proud to be representing them, Munster and Ireland at this year's Women's Rugby World Cup."
Getting to know Gillian Bourke
Name: Gillian Bourke
Favourite Food: Pasta Bake
Book you are currently reading or have just finished: The Last Templar but it's taking a while to finish
Favourite TV programme: Greys Anatomy
Favourite Film: Finding Nemo
Favourite Actor/Actress: Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr.
Most enjoyable holiday location: New Zealand
Marooned on a desert island what could you not be without: Ice-cream and my iPod
Favourite sport other than rugby: Show-jumping and Surfing
The sport you least like: Soccer, they are just too soft!!
Person you would most like to meet: Nelson Mandela
Sportsperson you admire most: Lance Armstrong
Hobbies: Music, movies, surfing and hanging out with my friends
Where and when did you first play rugby: Started playing in 2003 in my first year in college with the University of Limerick
Biggest influence on career: Ian Costello and Fiona Steed
Best career advice you were given: A prop can have a great game without ever touching the ball…. Though it did take me a few years to realise the worth of that wisdom
What you like most/least about being a rugby player: I love the friends I’ve made. I don’t like all the bangs and bruises.
Other sports that you played: When I was growing up, horses took up most of my time, mainly show-jumping with some cross-country as well
Best rugby memory: Getting my first starting cap for Ireland in 2009 and beating France the same night (7-5) for the first time. It was a great night.
Rugby Player you admire most: John Hayes and Jerry Flannery
Rugby team you admire most: Munster
Sporting event you would most like to attend: 2007 Wimbledon Final – Federer beating Nadal
If you weren’t a rugby player what would you be: A Gymnast…..though my dreams have recently been crushed by my fellow teammates
Three people you would invite to dinner and why: Stephen Fry because he is so intelligent, Robin Williams because he’s so funny and Jason Mraz so he can play us some tunes