NIAMH Briggs, the Limerick based garda who won a Grand Slam with the Ireland women’s team in Milan last month, says she’s determined to get young girls off the streets in some of the city’s most disadvantaged areas.
Garda Briggs was speaking yesterday after she was honoured by her colleagues at Roxboro Road garda station to mark her on-the-field achievement.
The 28-year-old full-back and place kicker, who has been attached to Roxboro Road garda station since 2009, is a community garda in Ballinacurra Weston.
Former Ireland and Munster rugby star David Wallace says she played a starring role in this year’s Grand Slam success.
He says the achievement of the women’s team put it up to their male counterparts. “What a tremendous ambassador you are for Limerick and for the gardai and for rugby as a whole,” he said, describing Garda Briggs as an “icon” for women’s rugby in Ireland.
Garda Briggs, who trains young boys from Southill and Ballinacurra Weston at Garryowen FC every Tuesday and Thursday night, says she is determined to offer something similar for young girls from the same areas.
The current scheme is funded through the Office of Regeneration with the support of the Shane Geoghegan Trust and An Garda Siochana. “It’s great to get them [young boys] out of the environment they are used to and to get them out of their comfort zone and bring them together paying sport. There is no better way to get them off the streets. It’s great, it’s been really good,” she said, adding that she hopes to offer something similar for young girls in the near future.
“We tried girls but couldn’t get any out and it’s definitely something that I’ll try in the future. I’d like to get them involved in something - even if it’s dance or whatever they’re into. I’ll do it - as long as I can get them off the streets and into something that they are interested in,” she enthused.
Asst Comm Tony Quilter, Chief Supt David Sheahan, Chief Supt Anne Marie McMahon as well as superintendents Dan Keane and Frank O’Brien all attended yesterday’s ceremony, as did Garda Briggs’ parents, Mike and Geraldine, who are orginally from Dungarven.