DCU and Leinster rugby star Emma Hooban has been called up to the Irish women’s rugby team for the autumn test series.
Hooban admitted being shocked after getting the call up to the Ireland team given she is one of the youngest called up as she is just 20 years old.
“I suppose the Friday after the Munster game I got the call from Adam Griggs telling me that I was getting the call up to the squad for the autumn test series,” said Hooban.
Hooban missed out on selection for both teams last year, and after sustaining injury a year previous, her recovery is all the more impressive.
“I was just really shocked as I had missed out on the Inter Pros the previous season because I was recovering from a medial ligament injury and then this year, I got the call up to both the Leinster and Ireland team,” she said.
Hooban acknowledged that the professionalism the Ireland squad brings is a big step up to what she was used to in previous set ups.
“Its definitely a big change. Before the Ireland sessions I would never have done a gym weight lifting session because I was swimming and never needed to, so that was a big change,” said Hooban.
In regard to the Leinster call up, Hooban felt more relaxed with the step up.
“It wasn’t too daunting going in though because I would’ve known Eimear Corri and a few of the girls from St Mary’s, so everyone was really friendly and there’s a very good atmosphere in the camp,” said Hooban.
Hooban impressed for Leinster in their Interprovincial victory as hooker for the victorious Leinster team.
The St Mary’s player made the switch from the backrow to the hooker during the campaign and found the pressure of the new role to be much more substantial.
“Yeah, there’s definitely a lot more pressure with the role with the line outs, the set plays and basically just keeping possession,” said Hooban.
“I really enjoyed it though. I would’ve played hooker for my own club Portlaoise at underage a bit, so I was just glad to put in a performance for the team,” she said.
Hooban reflected on the dramatic end to the inter pros which saw her Leinster side salvage a last gap draw against Munster to claim the title.
“Yeah, we were probably lucky to get the draw. We played into their hands a bit. They would’ve wanted a physical match and that’s what we gave them for about seventy minutes,” admitted Hooban.
“We should’ve attacked the space more and ran the lines earlier on, but that’s what eventually got us the late try, so we did implement that later on,” she said.
Looking forward to the test matches Hooban spoke of the comradery and dedication in the Ireland camp.
“We are training and doing gym sessions three days a week. Two of the sessions are in the Aviva.”
“The girls on the southside come up to DCU to collect us because there’s no buses to the Aviva from campus,” said Hooban.
“I don’t think I’ll actually start the test matches but being apart of the squad will be an unbelievable experience,” she said.
Image Credit: Piaras O Midheach/Sportsfile