LAURA Guest leads her Munster ladies’ squad into a winner-take-all showdown with Leinster for the 2018 interprovincial title next weekend.
The Clonakilty native has certainly grown into her senior coaching position, guiding Munster to consecutive interprovincial victories over Connacht and Ulster. Munster’s latest triumph came last Sunday in Portadown where the visitors registered a 40-20 triumph to setup a winner-take-all showdown with Leinster.
So how much is the Munster coach enjoying the ultra-competitive
‘There are probably a few more grey hairs than I’d like since I took over the job but I’m enjoying it,’ Guest told The Southern Star.
‘To go up North and get a try-bonus was a tough ask. We are delighted to have gotten that result but still left with a little bit to work on. As far as we were concerned, we needed five points and got it. That represents a good day’s work.’
Their upcoming clash with Leinster should be an occasion to savour and something Laura guest and her players are eagerly looking forward to.
‘This is what both sides would have wanted, a winner-take-all match to decide the championship,’ Guest admitted.
‘We still have a few knocks to assess following the Ulster game but should have a full squad to choose from, hopefully.
‘Having games so close together means you’re able to build momentum from week to week but it’s the same for both us and Leinster. Even though some girls might be carrying knocks, the player base is so deep in both provinces and another player is always ready to step into the fold.
‘To be where I am now would not have been possible without having to cut my teeth as a coach in club rugby. I already had a huge amount of experience as a player first and then as coach before I took on the Munster job, which was important.
‘Certainly, provincial rugby is a step up from what I’ve been used to but I’ve enjoyed the experience so far. It’s a very professional setup and you’re just trying to be the best that you can be. I am fortunate to have so many quality players currently available in Munster who have helped me enormously.’
Although backboned by UL Bohemian players, it is refreshing to see three West Cork women making their names in the current Munster line-up. Guest has taken special pride in seeing Bantry Bay RFC’s Enya Breen and Andrea Stock plus UL’s Laura Sheehan (Castletownbere) coming through from her home region.
‘It is great to Enya and Andrea coming out of last year’s U18s, even though it is a big step-up,’ she said.
‘They have made the transition look easy and the more rugby those two girls get at this level, the better they will get. Likewise, Laura, who has been on an upward curve since making the breakthrough as she is a very exiting talent getting to play alongside the likes of experienced players like Niamh Briggs.’