As a young child obsessed with the game of rugby, representing your country is always the dream, and for Judy Bobbett, that dream was fulfilled as she earned her first Ireland senior cap when she lined out in the second row of Adam Griggs’ side that lost to Wales in their home November Test in UCD.
It’s been a memorable few months for the DCU EPL student, who earned her first Leinster senior cap only three months ago. Also a well renowned and talented GAA goalkeeper and 2018 Meath minor captain, the Blackrock star joined Nichola Fryday in the second row and was the only uncapped player in the starting side.
Rugby runs in the blood of this Meath native as Pat Bobbett, Judy’s grandfather, was one of the founding members of their club Ashbourne RFC, while her father Charles Bobbett is also a long-term member.
A last minute try for Wales was a sucker-punch for Griggs’ side at the UCD Bowl, but once the initial heartbreak of defeat subsided, Bobbett was able to savour the moment for what it was and what she achieved, being one of fifteen women to represent her country in front of her family, friends, former Meath GAA teammates and lovers of rugby.
“I’ve had great days in sport but nothing will beat the feeling of representing your country for the first time. It was unfortunate we didn’t get the win but we will learn from our mistakes and kick on for the Six Nations in 2020,” Bobbett told The College View.
Bobbett’s career has come on a long way from the days of running out as a mascot for the Ireland team in the Six Nations back in 2010 to following the Ashbourne team as a child. That experience only added to her desire to one day pull on the green jersey and develop into strong ball carrier and dynamic addition to the Irish scrum.
“I knew if I wanted to be successful I would have to give 100 per cent to rugby. Before I was giving 50/50 to both GAA and rugby but if I didn’t stop playing football, I know for a fact I would not be where I am today as a rugby player,” said Bobbett.
She has since risen through the underage system in exciting fashion having captained Leinster Under-18’s last year, and her performance in the Ireland pack against Wales provided a glimpse of why she is so highly-regarded, some say she performed like she has been playing with the Ireland seniors for years.
Through her work-rate, application and overall rugby knowledge, Bobbett impressed the management team during training camps in Scotland and France to earn a start against the Welsh, with the Blackrock College lock being one of four new caps in Griggs’ match day 23.
For Bobbett she has since returned to her club as well as finding a balance with her degree in DCU. She still trains with her Irish teammates three times a week in preparation for the 2020 campaign and the hope of reaching the ultimate target of a Grand Slam, something Ireland hasn’t done since 2013.