‘Local girl who just went out to play rugby’ honoured

The true grit of the men from Currow is legendary in rugby circles.

Upstaging the likes of Moss Keane, Mick Galwey, and Tom Doyle is no easy feat but the Kerry village near Castleisland has a new hero on the rugby fields.

Tralee and Munster player Siobhán Fleming is a leading member of the Irish women’s Six Nations and Grand slam champions, and yesterday, Kerry County Council accorded her a civic reception.

County mayor Terry O’Brien said the secret of Currow’s rugby greats should be investigated.

“Maybe it’s time we analysed the water,” he joked. “Whatever it is, it aids the development of rugby players. I am calling on director of services for the environment Oliver Ring to conduct an analysis.”

A number of councillors said the “glamorous” Ms Fleming was a role model for young women to continue in sport.

“There is an over-emphasis on sporting achievement by males globally,” said Mr O’Brien. “Too many girls drop out — teenage girls should be encouraged to participate.”

Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris, who requested the reception, said: “Aside from her glamour and beauty, the fact [Ms Fleming] had taken up rugby only in 2007 and had achieved so much was, in itself, inspiring.”

Ms Fleming told the council chamber: “I am quite speechless. I was just a local girl who went out to play rugby.”

Nothing had prepared her, she said, for the pride the people of her county took in her achievements.

“To be honoured by my own county is remarkable,” she said. “I was late coming to rugby. I had played a lot of sport before that. Rugby was something to keep me ticking over. I didn’t even know there was an international team.”

Ger O’Brien, director of services at Kerry County Council, presented her with a Louis Mulcahy bowl and a certificate.

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