Ireland: Emily Mckeown

Leinster wing sees Gallagher High Performance Academy as a huge stepping stone in her coaching career.

Emily Mckeown’s coaching and playing careers have always run alongside each other and been mutually beneficial.

It was while she was a student at the Institute of Technology in Carlow, in the south-east of Ireland, that Mckeown began her coaching journey.

“Sports coaching was a module there and I really found that I had a passion for it,” McKeown told World Rugby.

“So, I coached before I played and I think both, for me, have gone hand in hand. I became a better player when I was coaching at provincial level with Leinster Under-18s, which led to me playing for Leinster.

“My experience from being coached in Leinster has then improved my coaching massively. I have gone full circle and if I didn’t have either of those experiences, I don’t think I would have been as successful in my playing or coaching career.”

Having helped Naas, her hometown club, win the Leinster Women’s Division Four title in 2019 in the first season after the side re-formed, Mckeown now plays for the Suttonians club in Dublin, where she is employed as Leinster Rugby’s women’s development officer.

Mckeown is also head coach of the Leinster Metro Under-18 girls team, while her own playing career has seen her progress to the senior Leinster side.

But coaching remains Mckeown’s passion and she is thrilled to be joining the Gallagher High Performance Academy, and having the opportunity to share her own experiences with and learn from other motivated women coaches from across the rugby world.

“I am really excited and looking forward to this experience, learning from great coaches and meeting everyone in the same position as myself,” she said.

“This is a huge stepping stone on a pathway I have been working towards, and am still.

“It’s important to start showing that high performance coaching is an option or a pathway for female coaches.

“This programme is a stepping stone to get on the pathway and to be able to experience the high performance set-up.

“This is a huge learning experience that would be hard to come by if the programme didn’t exist.”

Last updated: Feb 22, 2024, 2:25:58 PM