Amanda Greensmith: Giving Girls A Chance To Try Rugby Is Massive
11th May 2021 By The Editor
Former Munster player and Ireland international Amanda Greensmith in her current role as the IRFU’s Women’s Development Manager has reflected on the strides the women’s game has made in recent years in an interview with Irish Rugby.
Greensmith, who represented Ireland over 20 times and also played for her province for 13 seasons, initially took up a role as Women’s Community Rugby Officer with Munster in 2010. During that time, the Ballyhea native experienced first-hand the growth of girls and women’s rugby in the province before applying her acquired knowledge at the national level in her current role with the IRFU.
“Those years with Munster really generated huge excitement around the women’s game for me,” Greensmith said. “When you see first hand the work being done in clubs and schools, and the impact that has on young girls, is remarkable. You remember every conversation with a teacher, coach or parent when they tell you one of the girls has come out of their shell, or has never been so engaged with PE or a sport before, and that’s what it’s all about.
“Being part of the pathways that help players get into Provincial and National jerseys is of course fantastic, but there’s also that joy of helping a person find their fit. Be it at schools, club or international level. Providing those opportunities for girls to fulfil whatever their ambition is. That’s our job.”
The holistic approach to coaching which is adopted throughout the province at underage level has yielded dividends in recent years with many clubs experiencing a growth in numbers in their respective girls and women’s programmes.
New programmes have been set up – Dolphin RFC in Cork City have recently set up a brand new girls and women’s rugby programme while Ennis RFC’s women’s team will be hoping to play their inaugural competitive match later this year after their debut season was cut short due to the pandemic.
.@DolphinRFC have launched a women and girls rugby programme ahead of the 2021/22 season 🏉
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) April 9, 2021
Equally as important, the emergence of new role models at the highest level of the game continue to act as a source of inspiration for the younger generation. With the recently concluded 2021 Women’s Six Nations, Cork native Emily Lane and Tipperary native Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe both made their international 15s debuts while the likes of Dorothy Wall, Eimear Considine and Ireland captain Ciara Griffin, to name but a few, continue to perform on the biggest stage.
“You can see massive progressions. Even when I started with Munster in 2010 as a Development Officer to when I finished up with the role and joined the IRFU, the landscape is vastly different, and that’s across the four Provinces. There are more age-grade teams, there are more opportunities for girls to take the sport up at a young age and there are so many more strands to the pathway.”
Greensmith says that although seeing players fulfil their ambition with their club, province or country is extremely rewarding, giving a player their first taste of the sport and seeing them thrive is equally as pleasing.
“Helping players develop is massively rewarding, but so too is introducing players to rugby.
“You’re always proud of the players who go on to achieve their ambitions, whether that’s with their club, their province or with Ireland, but to give young girls the opportunity to get active and try rugby is massive.
“The key thing for me is simply giving someone the chance to find their sport, or find their fit. To say, this is where I feel most comfortable and I’m most happy. It’s that opportunity to be around friends, team-mates and to Give It A Try, because you just don’t know where it will take you, and I certainly didn’t know where rugby would take me either.”
If your club is interested in participating in girls’ rugby please contact Munster Rugby Women’s Development Officer Ken Imbusch at firstname.lastname@example.org