IRELAND CAPTAIN FIONA Coghlan has confirmed her retirement from international rugby, ending on a losing note against France at the World Cup but hugely proud of what she and her teammates have achieved in recent seasons.
The 33-year-old finishes with an impressive 85 caps for her country, a 2013 Grand Slam, and the honour of having led Ireland to a best-ever fourth place finish at this World Cup.
“Obviously today was a little bit emotional because it’s the last game,” Coghlan told TheScore.ie after at full-time in Paris. “But once that whistle goes, it’s the last thing on your mind. It was emotional at the end and the girls were apologising to me.”
The UL Bohemians front row had made her decision during this year’s Six Nations, but said impending retirements weren’t “something we spoke about” in the last three weeks in France.
Coghlan has been with Ireland on their journey of improvement since the mid-2000s and takes great pride in what has been achieved.
My first World Cup was in 2006 and I suppose we were lucky to finish eighth. The last World Cup we finished seventh. But in the last three years, we’ve moved the game on so much and we’re playing a type of rugby that is good to watch.
“The standard of the players coming into the game now is great, and to finish fourth for Ireland is a great place to be. It bodes well for the future.”
Now, as she moves on, Coghlan would like to see Irish women’s rugby driven further forward in the coming years.
“I want to see proper development pathways put in place to encourage more girls to get involved. I think it can become a sport of choice in this country, whereas it hasn’t been in the past. I think if girls get opportunities, they will embrace them.
“It can go places, but obviously it will take time and resources. It’s about the standard of coaches; I was lucky to have Ian Costello and Goose [Philip Doyle] as my coaches. They were superb coaches and I think everyone needs coaches like them.”