Former Donegal international rugby player, Nora Stapleton, has been appointed as the new Sport Ireland Women in Sport Lead.

The 35-year-old Inishowen woman is leaving her position as the IRFU Women’s and Girls’ Rugby Development Manager and will take up her new role with Sport Ireland in mid-April.

She retired from international rugby in 2017 after a hugely successful career which saw her earn 50 caps.

Nora Stapleton

Commenting on her new appointment, Nora said: “While sorry to be leaving Irish Rugby after six years and the many great people I’ve had the privilege of working with and for, I’m excited by the new opportunity and challenges that lie ahead.

“I look forward to working with Sport Ireland, the National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships to continue to build on the significant work that has already been undertaken in this area within the sport sector to date, recognising the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of women through their involvement in sport.”

Sport Ireland recently launched its new Policy on Women in Sport. One of the key actions of the policy was the appointment of a Women in Sport Lead to act authoritatively and strategically to develop and promote women and girls involvement in sport.

Lynne Cantwell, Chairperson of the Women in Sport Steering Committee, said: “The rationale behind the recently published Sport Ireland Policy on Women in Sport is to provide a blueprint for the organisation’s future work in the area of women in sport. I welcome Nora and wish her the best in her new role. I look forward to the implementation process of this ambitious policy.”

Having previously won two All-Ireland football finals (Junior 2003 and Intermediate 2010) with the Donegal, three nationals titles and participated in three UEFA knockout stages with the UCD soccer team, Nora turned her hand to rugby in 2007 when she joined Old Belvedere. She made her debut for Leinster in 2009 and played her first Women’s Six Nations game for Ireland against Italy in February 2010. The Fahan native played in three Women’s Rugby World Cups (2010, 2014 and 2017). She won a Grand Slam in 2013 and a second Six Nations title in 2015.