A black eye Jeamie Deacon is happy to display

Students of the High School in Rathgar got something of a surprise on Monday when their maths teacher Ms Deacon arrived with a black eye.
A black eye Jeamie Deacon is happy to display

But Jeamie Deacon couldn’t be happier. The bruised face was sustained in pursuit of a dream that becomes a reality today when she wins a first senior cap in an historic Autumn international against England. The 29-year-old bubbles with enthusiasm as she describes her feeling on getting the call from coach Tom Tierney to start on the right wing against the world champions at The Stoop (3pm)

“I was thinking during the week of all the training, all the hours in the gym, to get a first cap, I would do it all again! I am so excited, I can’t wait!” Similar to many of her teammates, Deacon is something of a code-hopper. While the cross over from Gaelic Football to rugby has become common place with established Irish women’s rugby names such as Niamh Briggs and Nora Stapleton, Deacon has come to rugby via an illustrious hockey career.

The Wexford native had achieved international honours at both U18 and U21 level before playing a number of uncapped fixtures for Ireland’s senior women’s hockey squad. She was then offered a scholarship to play for Michigan State University, training in what she describes as a “professional” setting and there she completed a degree in civil engineering.

Upon her return to Ireland she studied for her teaching qualification in UCD and continued to impress on the hockey field. She picked up on oval ball with Blackrock College where she quickly became a star performer.

Deacon shows a philosophical side when she reflects upon missing out on a full cap in hockey and the situation she now finds herself in, “Maybe things happen for a reason and that wasn’t meant to happen for me. I didn’t know women’s rugby was out there until I saw what the women did winning the Grand Slam and all the publicity they got from it. I didn’t realise, people were even playing it in Ireland. I just needed a different challenge and just thought I would give it a go.”

IRELAND (v England):

N Briggs (UL Bohemian/Munster) Capt J Deacon (Blackrock/ Leinster),* A Donnelly (Cill Dara/ Leinster),* J Shiels (Richmond/ Exiles), M Coyne (Galwegians/ Connacht),* S Naoupu (Galwegians/ Connacht), LMuldoon (Skewen/ Exile), R O’Reilly (Galwegians/ Connacht), C Moloney (Railway Union/ Leinster),* A Egan (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), E Anthony (Highfield/ Munster),* C Cooney (Galwegians/ Connacht),* S Spence (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), P Fitzpatrick (Stade Toulousain), H O’Brien (Stade Toulousain).

Replacements:

Z Grattage (Tralee/ Munster),* F Reidy (UL Bohemian/ Munster), F O’Brien (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), K Norris (Blackrock/ Leinster), L Peat (Railway Union/ Leinster),* M Healy (Galwegians/ Connacht),* N Stapleton (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), C McLaughlin (Queens University/ Ulster)*.

*Denotes uncapped player at this level.

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