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‘No Woman, No Try.’

Only all-female team dominates mixed tag rugby league.


Susanna Mollen

June 10, 2024

'No Woman, No Try' has become the first all-female team to win a mixed-gender Tag Rugby league in North Dublin in several years, after they clinched the final by just two points on Wednesday June 5.

'No Woman, No Try' after becoming the first all-female team to win the mixed-gender Drumcondra Tag Rugby League.

‘No Woman, No Try’, an all-female tag rugby team, polished off an impressive performance in the Drumcondra Wednesday League by winning their final 22 points to 20 against ‘Tag Titans’ on Wednesday 5th June.

The girls dominated the Grading Phase of the eight-week league, conceding only 16 points across all three games. And although they lost their first and only match in the following Round Robin Phase, they came back to defeat the same team in a thrilling final showdown.

Mixed social teams usually consist of four male and the minimum of three female players. In an effort to encourage more female involvement at this level, a male score is worth one point but a female try is proportionate to the number of women on the field when the try is scored. So if you have three women playing, a try is worth three points, whilst four women equals four points, and so on. Scoring in the blue box in the centre of the try line also adds another point to a girl score, encouraging women to attack through the middle of the pitch.

With no existing women’s league on the north-side of Dublin, captain Jean Jordan and Irish Tag Rugby Coach Jack Leahy put together a club for female tag players to practice their rugby skills. From passing, kicking, and the famous tag ‘hip jink’, the ‘Wednesday Club’ gets girls polishing the basics outside of the busy mixed-gender environment.

When a spot opened up in the Drumcondra social league, the girls from ‘Wednesday Club’ jumped on the opportunity to put their new moves into practice.

And with seven talented female players on the pitch for every minute of every game, each of their tries was worth a whopping seven points. Even more damaging, a blue ‘box try’ immediately put them eight points clear of the opposition.

“It was a bit of a killer” says Ireland Woman’s player Shauna Bermingham. The lads on the other teams soon realised that they could run in as many one-point scores as they wanted, but without a girl try they would struggle to catch up.

One guy running in, you had to do that seven times to match one of our tries”

-Shauna Bermingham

Despite some initial surprised faces on the opposing teams, in general, there were “no bad reactions and all the teams were definitely up for the craic”, says Shauna.

In many cases, there was a ripple effect as the opposition started getting their girls more involved to secure those crucial extra points.

Having learnt from the tough Round Robin game, in the final ‘Tag Titans’ unexpectedly fielded more female than male players to also benefit from the accelerator point system.

“Seeing them getting the girls on their team more involved and playing accelerator was good to see” added Shauna, “an encouraging sight” for the future development of women’s tag.

And for the girls playing and watching on all sides, it shows that it’s not impossible for women to play and even win against men! Shauna hopes it will encourage both male and female players to get their women “more involved in the game and [making] a contribution.”

But for ‘No Woman, No Try’, it’s right back to business to defend their title in the next Drumcondra league starting this week.

And for many of the players, they’ll be using the games to show off their skills and secure their place on the first ever Northside Warriors Women’s Team entering Nationals on July 20th.

You can read more about the Tag Rugby National Championships, Ireland’s highest level domestic tag competition, here.

Northside Warriors Women's Team at State of Origin 2024. Photograph: Martha McComb Photography

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