Sloan sets sights on international competition
Currently playing in the No 13 sport for City of Derry ladies, Stacey Sloan is riding on the crest of a wave - having recently been selected to also play at Ulster level.
With three intrer-pro three games for the inter-provincial side under her belt, playing Connaught, Munster and Leinster, she is enjoying her sport enormously.
She made her debut in the Kinspan Stadium (formerly known as Ravenhill), she enjoyed a full 30 minutes on the pitch in the second half and viewed the step up at the time as ‘very honorary’.
Known for her determined, attacking style, Stacey, said she must haver performed well, as she made the starting squad based on her appearance.
“Obviously I did a good enough performance because I managed to make the starting squad for the next wee against Connaught down in Galway,” she said.
Her parents have always been supportie of Stacey on and off the pitch. The talented athlete is also a force to be reckoned with in the boxing ring and is a keen horsewoman.
Asked if any of her family travelled with her for her initial matches for Ulster, she said: “My mum and dad have always been very supportive. My mother has been very nervous about me playing rugby, because rugby is a tough sport, but she was there on the sideline for my Ulster game up in Belfast. My father has always been supportive from the get go. he actually travelled the whole way to Galway to watch me in the Connaught game, which was very emotional for me. It is a long way to go just to watch one game.”
Reflecting on her step up to the Ulster level, Stacey said the move had been “amazing”.
“Last year I would never have thought about getting to that kid of level. I only started last year in development and to move up. Basically I skipped a stage to get to inter-provincial rugby.
“It is a huge honour and it is a different class of rugby and I enjoyed every minute of it. I can’t wait for next year,” she said, up-beat about her progress.
Given that she had, in effect, skipped a stage in her progression to inter-provincial matches, Stacey said that she had stepped on a steep learning curve.
“I learned a hell of a lot more. I leaned so much, and the coaches up there are a different kettle of fish. It is brilliant. What I have taken so far from Ulster rugby, and since I left, is that they have offered so much support throughout the rest of my season here with City of Derry and they are going to come down and give me some advice and help.”
Describing City of Derry as “my club” she vowed to continue to play for the north west team, but also has dreams to progress even further playing at international level for Ireland.
“Hopefully, if I am lucky I aim to play at Irish level. Definitely after playing for Ulster I have got a taste for it and I am going to stick my studs into the ground and I am going to keep pushing,” she said.
If her current form on pitch is anything to go by Sloan could well be playing in the women’s Six Nations in the near future.