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Zoe caps off Irish Grand Slam in style

22 March 2018

A Rushcliffe Country Park ranger has celebrated Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam win with the award of an Irish international rugby cap, 25 years after she played in the country’s first ever women’s international.

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Zoe Fordham was among the special few who pulled on the green jersey in a match against Scotland in Edinburgh in 1993.

The Irish Rugby Football Union honoured her and the women who followed in her footsteps with a special caps ceremony at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on March 11, just hours after Ireland’s men defeated Scotland en route to their Six Nations triumph.

 The day of celebration and reunions was to acknowledge those who paved the way for the female sport in the country and the 112 players who represented Ireland from 1993 to 2005, prior to the Irish Women's Rugby Football Union (IWRFU) becoming integrated into the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

Over 100 former players attended the event, some from as far afield as New Zealand and Australia, and Zoe made the short hop over the Irish Sea from the East Midlands.

 She said: “It was a wonderful day and after such a long time was incredible to catch up with so many former team mates who made history.

 “I love wearing the cap but it will take pride of place in a frame at home. It’s great that women’s rugby continues to go from strength to strength in the Six Nations countries and I am honoured to have been among those to have started Ireland’s international journey.”

Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Chief Executive Allen Graham congratulated Zoe on receiving the cap.

He said: “Our staff have the habit of pleasantly surprising us with the breadth and depth of what they have and continue to achieve outside of work but to have a former rugby international on our books is exceptional.

“Many congratulations to Zoe in being honoured for being part of a true first for her country, and in such grand fashion. She should be exceptionally proud of what she achieved.”

The former Ireland players were presented with their caps in groups based on the season they were first capped. The caps were presented by IRFU President Philip Orr and former Presidents of the IWRFU.

The present Ireland and Scotland women’s teams, who played out their Women's Six Nations match at Donnybrook on the Emerald Isle earlier in the day of the presentation, were also on hand to share in the celebration of the ground-breaking team.