AS debut seasons go, Skibbereen native Enya Breen couldn’t have asked for much better from her maiden campaign at south Dublin outfit Blackrock College RFC.
Previously a vital cog in the UL Bohemians back line, the versatile Breen switched allegiances to ‘Rock following the conclusion of Ireland’s historic two-test tour of Japan in the summer. Just as adept in a playmaking role at inside centre, Breen featured at out-half for her new side in the Women’s All-Ireland League final against defending champions Railway Union at Energia Park last Saturday.
A creative force throughout the contest, Breen was on hand to convert her own second-half try and was TG4’s choice as Player of the Match in the aftermath of ‘Rock’s 27-7 triumph.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for ‘Rock, however, as Railway had entered the interval in the Metropolitan venue with a slender two-point cushion (7-5). Yet tries from Dorothy Wall and Breen on the resumption offered the Stradbrook club a powerful platform and they never looked back from there.
“Railway are a great team. We could never underestimate them. Obviously they were going to have a purple patch, it was going to be tit-for-tat at points,” Breen remarked.
“To finally break it at the start of the second half, it was nice to just pull away a small bit. We knew we had to take our opportunities as they came. Luckily we were able to do that and execute them when we could.”
While Breen currently resides several hours away from her hometown in West Cork, she finds herself amongst a host of familiar faces in the Blackrock set-up.
The aforementioned Wall, Aoife Moore and Maeve Óg O’Leary are colleagues of Breen in Munster and are all expected to line out for the Reds in the Women’s Interprovincial Championship that gets underway next month.
Additionally, former Munster Junior player Ben Martin is ‘Rock’s head coach and developed a strong blend of international stars and club stalwarts for their march towards AIL supremacy.
“To have a bit of Munster representation is always a good thing. We’re all used to each other and we’re all playing together all the time as well. It’s great to play with your friends and enjoy it as well,” Breen said.
“It’s great to have that mix of players. I know us internationals at times we can take it a bit seriously.
We’ve high standards, but it’s good to get that mix and for members to enjoy it at the end of the day as well. It has been great, it’s a great bunch of girls.
“I couldn’t ask for any better.”
Although she was still plying her trade down in Limerick at the time, Breen acknowledged ‘Rock were spurred on by the disappointment of last season’s final reversal to Railway Union.
Fourteen of Blackrock’s match day squad from Saturday’s success were also involved in a 24-18 reversal to Railway at the same venue back in February and brought that experience to bear for their latest renewal of acquaintances.
“We’re an ambitious club. We wanted to come out on top. It was tough here last year and to be able to execute those opportunities was probably the difference. I know I wasn’t part of the squad last year, but they probably used that experience.
“Obviously there was going to be a little leftover hurt there. You have to be able to use that at times as well. You’ve just got to execute what’s put in front of you and do a job, at the end of the day.”
Over the course of a 10-game unbeaten run to the All-Ireland League title, Blackrock also got the better of Railway on their home turf of Park Avenue. Breen admitted that ‘Rock took great confidence from this victory and were well primed for their final battle as a result.
“You’ve to take the little wins. We went unbeaten all season, so we were obviously building momentum through the season.
“That’s a part of it too obviously. You get confidence from winning, so to be able to do that and finally do it at the end of the day when it counts, that’s what matters,” Breen added.