Alison Miller got to travel all over the world with the Irish Womens 7s team in 2016, but they just missed out on a trip to the one place they really wanted to go - Rio. While Olympic qualification eluded them, Alison still had a successful year, passing 30 internation caps for the Women's 15-a-side team. Her sights are now set on the Womens World Cup in 2017, which is in Ireland.
What was your personal highlight of 2016?
My personal highlight was playing on the Connacht women’s rugby team. When I first played on the Connacht women’s team in 2009 we were seen as the minnows of Irish women’s rugby but this year we were in the running for the Interprovincial title. We beat Ulster 39-12 in the last game, and I scored by first hat-trick for Connacht. I also got to play with Tara Buggy, a former underage star with Portlaoise U-18 girls team. Tara came off the bench and put in a fine performance to help Conncaht see of Ulster on Saturday last. Special mention also to Emer Corri and Niamh Griffin who were part of the Leinster team that won the title. The two girls are former underage players with Portlaoise RFC. Both have exciting futures ahead of them.
Did you achieve all you wanted to achieve in 2016?
No I didn’t. The biggest disappointments were not being competitive enough on the women’s 7’s World Series and having a disappointing six Nations campaign. Also not qualifying for the Olympics.
What was your biggest disappointment/regret of 2016?
That’s an easy question to answer; my biggest disappointment was not qualifying for Rio 2016 with the Irish women’s 7s rugby team. We lost the semi-final of the world repechage qualifier to Russia, who were clear favourites, but as it turned out they lost to Spain in the final, and Spain qualified for the Olympics.
Who was the toughest opponent you faced in 2016?
Too many to name, but Patricia Garcia of Spain and Charlotte Caslick of Australia come to mind.
Who gave the best individual/team performance that you witnessed in 2016?
The Connacht men’s rugby team, the O’Donovan brothers and Thomas Barr.
What was the best sporting event you attended in 2016?
I was too busy playing and training to attend any sports events myself, but in November gone by I was lucky enough to play in the Dubai 7s. This is one of the best 7s tournaments in the world, with some of the best mens and womens teams playing. From a spectator point of view the atmosphere is exciting as there is a real carnival feel to the tournament.
What sporting event do you wish you could have attended in 2016?
Euro 2016 in France.
Who played the biggest role in helping you to be successful in 2016?
My boyfriend Alan, my mother, Willie Mahon, coaches and staff.
Non-Sporting highlight of the year?
Finally getting a holiday for the first time in years. Two and a half weeks in the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali.
What are your goals/ambitions for 2017?
To win the women’s rugby World Cup in August. It’s in Dublin, so hopefully we will get brilliant home support.
What is you biggest fear for 2017?
Not having the time to do things at the effort and intensity I would like (Sporting and non-sporting)
Aside from you/your team, who would you like to see be successful in 2017?
I would like to see any Laois team be successful. Footballers or hurlers of any code.
What sporting event would you most like to attend in 2017?
Any athletic s event of a high standard internationally.
Who would you say is 'One to Watch' in 2017?
Adam Byrne, a winger from Naas. He is a former 7s international and now playing on the wing for Leinster.
All-Ireland Football and Hurling
Kerry and Kilkenny.
Premiership and Champions League
I haven’t a clue about soccer, I'll go with Man United and Barcelona!
6 Nations and European Champions Cup
Ireland and Leinster.
Laois Senior Football and Hurling?
Portlaoise and Camross.