IF 2019 can be classed as a great year for Enya Breen (and it was), then she’s determined to ensure that 2020 is even better.
It would take a brave person to bet against one of the rising stars of Irish women’s rugby.
‘2019 was a really good year and I don’t think I could have written a better one if I had tried,’ Enya explained after she picked up the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star Monthly Award for November to mark her first international try for Ireland, coming against Wales.
There were several highlights for the Skibbereen woman last year. Enya made her senior international debut against France in the Six Nations last March and then played against Wales in the next round. That was a dream come true, she says, unbelievable.
Back into the club scene and Enya won the All-Ireland Cup with UL Bohs, though weeks later they relinquished their All-Ireland League crown to Railway Union. Off the back of her heroics, Enya was named the 2018/19 Women’s AIL Rising Star in May after her breakthrough season. That momentum has carried into the 2019/20 campaign as she won her third international cap against Wales in November and scored her first senior try for Ireland; another magical moment.
‘It was a great year for me, it’s everything I ever wanted, and hopefully I can go even better now in 2020 and achieve a bit more,’ said Enya, who is in the Ireland squad for the Women’s Six Nations that starts at home in Donnybrook against Scotland on February 2nd.
It’s an exciting year for Adam Griggs’ Irish team because as well as the Six Nations, which is the immediate priority, Ireland can also qualify for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup if they win a qualification tournament in September.
‘It’s a big year, alright,’ the 20-year-old West Cork woman said.
‘I want to build on my performances from earlier in the season, I’m not perfect by any means so I want to keep developing, get a few starts in the Six Nations hopefully and keep improving. I’ve a long way to go to get to where I want to be.
‘We’re back training this week, it’s a short run into the Six Nations. We have set a good platform in the last few months with a lot of hard training and now we want our results to show what we are capable of.’
While Enya did travel to the Dubai Invitational Tournament in November with the Ireland Women’s Sevens Development squad, and she enjoyed the experience, her attention is firmly on the upcoming Six Nations and the World Cup qualification tournament in September.
‘My focus is definitely on 15s. I want to help the team qualify for the World Cup and hopefully then be part of the team that goes to the World Cup,’ she said. ‘We are in with Scotland and Italy in the qualifying tournament, and there is another team coming in from Rugby Europe. We have to win that, it will be tough, but it’s a good challenge.’Those who know Enya know she likes a challenge and also know she’s one of the most exciting young prospects in Irish rugby, a talented centre who can play anywhere across the back line.
Munster Women’s head coach Laura Guest is a fan of her fellow West Cork native, previously telling the Star: ‘She has a bit of everything – great balance, superb strength, plenty of pace, good footwork and more than anything else at that level, she has a brain. She has a rugby mind and a great understanding of the game. She will get better and better as time goes on.’
That’s the general belief, that Enya will get better. The only way is up for this rising star.
Urhan’s Laura Sheehan, team-mates with Enya Breen at UL Bohs, has also been included in the Ireland squad for the Women’s Six Nations campaign.