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The emerging stars of the 2019/20 season: Beibhinn Parsons

The 18-year-old Ballinasloe and Connacht wing is a prolific try-scorer.

FOR EARLIER PIECES on some of the young players who showed their promise in senior rugby in the 2019/20 season, click here.

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Right now, Ireland international Beibhinn Parsons is among the thousands of Leaving Cert students dealing with the challenge of postponed exams.

18-year-old Parsons played for Ireland twice in this year’s Six Nations before being released from the squad in order to focus on her studies. As things transpired, Parsons only missed one game as Ireland’s closing two fixtures were also postponed.

beibhinn-parsons-makes-a-break Parsons has scored three tries in three Six Nations starts. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

In her two starts against Scotland and Wales this year, Parsons once again underlined the potential that makes her one of the most exciting players to emerge in Irish rugby in recent years.

Her rugby journey began with Ballinsloe RFC and Parsons shot up the rugby ladder so quickly that she made her senior Ireland debut against USA at the age of just 16 back in November 2018. Coming off the bench that day, Parsons became the youngest Ireland international ever.

The swift promotion came after Parsons had helped Connacht to the U18 inter-provincial championship two months before.

The pacy wing’s first touch for Ireland in senior international rugby was electrifying as she ran a superb line, broke past three defenders, fired out a powerful fend and very nearly scored. The US defenders just about managed to hold Parsons up over the tryline.

A week later, Parsons won cap number two as Ireland lost away to England in their second November Test.

In January 2019, having turned 17, Parsons was part of the Ireland 7s squad that travelled to Australia for the Sydney leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series. The Connacht flyer scored a try in Ireland’s win over Fiji and helped them to a fourth-placed finish. 

beibhinn-parsons-after-the-game-with-her-mother-evelyn Parsons with her mother, Evelyn, after her Ireland debut in 2018. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Parsons also got her Six Nations debut off the bench against France last year, again making a break with her first touch, before being named for her first Test start against Wales a week later. Though Ireland lost, Parsons bagged a try.

Last summer, she helped the Ireland U18 7s to second place at the World Games in Paris before playing a major role in Connacht’s senior team reaching the final of the women’s inter-provincial championship. The prolific Parsons scored a hat-trick in the semi-final victory over Munster.

Her fifth Ireland cap arrived with a start against Wales last November and Parsons duly came into this year’s Six Nations as a starting wing.

Her intercept try in the opener against Scotland allowed Parsons to demonstrate her pure pace, the brave read close to Ireland’s tryline preventing a score for the visitors and clinching the game for Adam Griggs’ side.

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A week later against Wales, Parsons scored a stunning solo try as she gathered in a scrappy Welsh exit kick and carved through the kick chase for a brilliant five-pointer.

Parsons’ top speed is hugely impressive but as important is her balance through contact – reminiscent of the great Connacht and Ireland wing Ali Miller.

beibhinn-parsons-makes-it-past-manon-johnes Parsons played twice in this year's Six Nations. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Parsons has the ability to smoothly change direction at high speed and is powerful in contact too.

Of course, there is much for Parsons still to learn and it seemed a sensible move from Griggs and Ireland to allow her to focus in on her studies again after the Wales game this year.

Her x-factor was missed in defeat to England, but Parsons has a long and exciting career ahead of her.

With Ireland hoping to continue their progress in the next year or two, there is little doubt that Parsons will be an important part of the picture.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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