Ireland Women scrum-half Kathryn Dane. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

'If anyone's strong enough to come through something so difficult, it's Kathryn'

Laura Feely shares her support for Kathryn Dane, who is recovering from a brain haemorrhage.

THERE WAS JARRING news for Irish rugby last month when scrum-half Kathryn Dane announced that she had suffered a brain haemorrhage at an Ireland training session, but those who know her have full faith in the 26-year-old’s ability to bounce back.

23-times capped Dane had her health scare while training with Ireland late last year and revealed that she hopes to make a full recovery to get back playing in the future.

Her former Ireland team-mate, prop Laura Feely, has no doubt that Dane will have total support as she recovers.

“I wasn’t there at the time, but obviously the support for Kathryn has been massive since,” said Feely this week as she helped to launch the new Tackle Your Feelings podcast.

“We were devastated to hear that. She’s an unbelievable personality within the squad and one of the most resilient and strong people I know. She would be one of my go-tos within camp.

“If there is anyone strong enough to come through something so difficult it will be Kathryn. She is so timid and soft-spoken, she’s one of the most intelligent rugby players I know. She’s so determined and she’s always doing her work in the background.

“There’s nothing you can’t go to Kathryn with, whether it be on or off the pitch. She has so much knowledge around the game and around the team and what the culture should be to succeed.

“Out of everyone I’ve ever roomed with in camp, I’ve shared a hotel room with Kathyrn the most. You talk tactics with her and then you can switch off and she can be there with you from an outside perspective as well, like any advice when you are struggling.

“I just know that she has all those tools herself and it’s great having tools and it will be really tough putting it into action now, but she keeps in good contact with all her friends and she has a great support system in her boyfriend and all her family and she knows that we are all there for her too.”

laura-feely Laura Feely was launching the Tackle Your Feelings podcast. Tom Maher / INPHO Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO

While Dane’s friends and team-mates will be thinking about her as he recovers, international rugby will hog lots of their attention over the coming months.

Yesterday, Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams named a 32-woman squad for the upcoming Six Nations that includes eight uncapped players.

31-year-old Feely, who made her debut in 2018, missed out on a call-up this time around, but speaking earlier this week before the squad announcement, the Donegal woman confirmed that she still has international ambitions.

“For front row players, it’s been a big area that they wanted to focus on and bring people through and I think a lot of girls put their hands up to go to the next level and see what they have to offer,” said Feely, who has also recently played in the back row for club side Blackrock.

“I’m still very much up for selection. What I have to offer going forward is my knowledge of the game.

“I’m quite a versatile player and have a lot of experience under my belt.”


Rugby Players Ireland in partnership with Zurich and the Z Zurich foundation are launching their new ‘Tackle Your Feelings Podcast’ alongside Laura Feely.

Comprising of seven episodes, the ‘Tackle Your Feelings Podcast’ encourages listeners to rethink their approach to positive mental well-being. Released every Thursday, the podcast is available to listen across all platforms.

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