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The emerging stars of the 2019/20 season: Dorothy Wall

The Tipperary woman made an impressive impact for Ireland during the Six Nations.

LAST WEEK, WE outlined the potential shown by Leinster lock Ryan Baird and Munster number eight Jack O’Sullivan at senior level during the course of the 2019/20 season.

Today, we take a closer look at one of the rising stars of Irish women’s rugby. 

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SOME PLAYERS MAKING their Test debuts are keen simply to add a little impetus, avoid making any costly errors, and generally just look like they belong.

Dorothy Wall certainly didn’t fit that mould when she won her first Ireland Women cap against Scotland in this year’s Six Nations.

dorothy-wall Wall earned three caps during this year's Six Nations. Source: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

Having replaced injured captain Ciara Griffin at half-time in Ireland’s win, Wall proceeded to make a remarkable 20 tackles in 40 minutes as Adam Griggs’ side spent much of the second half defending. 

Add in three powerful carries and a pair of passes that hinted at Wall’s handling skill and it was a highly-impressive Ireland debut for the 19-year-old.

A week later, Wall had just 19 minutes to impress off the bench in the win against Wales but the Tipperary woman did exactly that, this time showing her ball-carrying prowess by making 70 metres in seven carries, including a 40-metre linebreak.

Wall got cap number three in Ireland’s defeat away to England, making six tackles and three carries in her 14 minutes off the bench.

With Ireland’s remaining two Six Nations games against Italy and France postponed, we will have to wait for another glimpse of the flanker’s talent but it’s already clear that Wall has the tools to be an important player in the future.

Having initially excelled at basketball, the former Presentation Secondary School, Thurles student first played rugby with her local club, Fethard and District RFC, where she swiftly showed promise.

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dorothy-wall Wall at Ireland training. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

A call-up to the Munster U18 squad followed and Wall advanced into the Ireland U18 Sevens’ set-up to win the U18 Home Nations competition in 2018.

After an appearance for the development side, Wall won her first senior Ireland Sevens cap in the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series leg in Ukraine in the summer of 2019.

The rise has continued in the 2019/20 season with full-time involvement in the senior Ireland 7s set-up, having been part of Munster Women’s squad for the inter-provincial championship at the beginning of the campaign.

Having developed with home club Fethard, Wall has also moved to Railway Union RFC in Dublin.

With little certainty around the rugby calendar, we may be waiting some time yet for Wall’s development to continue on the pitch, but there is little doubt she will have a role to play when Ireland get up and running again.

They are due to play in a 2021 World Cup qualifying tournament in September of this year, facing Six Nations rivals Italy and Scotland for a place at next year’s tournament in New Zealand.

dorothy-wall-and-shannon-touhey Wall makes a carry for Munster earlier this season. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The back row of captain Griffin, Edel McMahon, and Anna Caplice was strong across the course of the three Six Nations games played this year but the ambitious Wall will be intent on earning more game time when Ireland are back.

Her power in the carry and tackle are certainly useful attributes, while Wall has also demonstrated promising handling skill. The experience in sevens rugby will also likely be useful in Wall’s development, ensuring she is even more confident in terms of footwork and defending when the game breaks up.

While some of Ireland’s best Test players in recent years have only come to rugby very late, it’s exciting for Griggs and co. that players like Wall – already an international in her teens – are starting to emerge.

The dynamic back row is just one of a promising crop of young players who look ready to push on and become cornerstones of the Ireland team in the coming years.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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