The sun shone on the Irish Women's Rugby team yesterday as they kicked off the Women's Rugby World Cup in UCD.
The ladies secured a 19-17 win after an exciting game that had a close scoreline throughout.
The match signals a turning point in women's sports here in Ireland. It was broadcast on RTE2, a free-to-air national broadcaster. Seeing women donning a green jersey on national television was goosebump inducing in the best kind of way. Growing up sports broadcasting was very heavily male dominated to the extent that the match last night felt somewhat surreal. To see women being taken seriously in sport was vindicating for every girl who has ever been branded a "tomboy", instead of athelically talented in their own right.
Moving the women's game into the mainstream media makes female sporting role models easily accessible to young girls (and everyone). Publicly recognising these athletically talented women will resonate with the next generation and enrich the future of Irish sport. These role models will greatly encourage girls to believe that their own athletic ambitions can be realised. The women wearing emerald jerseys were empowering.
The nation got behind our women yesterday. #WRWC2017 was still the number one trending # on Twitter this morning. A plethora of rugby legends including Rob Kearney, Sean O'Brien and Jack McGrath wished the team luck before their showdown against Australia.
While Brian O'Driscoll shared his well wishings with everyone competing in the competition.
The interest in the team reached far outside the rugby community with stars like Niall Horan sending luck.
Goodluck to the @IrishRugby ladies for the World Cup .— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) August 9, 2017
All round sound lad Hozier congratulated the ladies on their impressive win.
We can't wait to support the Irish women throughout the tournament. The impact they are having by shaking up sports broadcasting in Ireland will last far beyond the final of this World Cup. They're already champs in our books.
Header Image: Instagram @LeinsterRugby