Women’s polo on the rise as emerging players descend on Ireland-based coaching programme

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IRELAND’S Pony Clubs are crossing over from traditional show jumping and related sports and on the brink of emerging as the future of women’s polo, the latest from the Calliaghstown club in County Dublin.

The clubhouse at Bishopland Polo Club, a centre of excellence in coaching and lessons in County Kildare, Ireland

Polo coach Alejo Tagle (left) includes plenty of practise on the ground to develop skills in young would-be polo players and for all ages

Fun at the polo ground in Bishopland Polo Club, dad Dalius Filiponis (left) combines Rugby and foot polo with son Joais and daughter Urte

While the road for some to gain the necessary skills to qualify for polo teams around the world was just beginning earlier this month at Bishopland Polo Club in County Kildare Ireland, of the 29 young women and girls attending a full day of coaching with Alejo Aita Tagle up to four were making their fourth annual visit. The coaching day kicked off the summer polo season, the first Irish tournament to take place in the last weekend of May.

The coaching programme runs by appointment through the summer at Bishopland Polo Club and includes a variety of training tournaments. Among the young emerging players that were at Bishopland may be the team that will someday play for Ireland in Argentina, following in the footsteps of the inaugural Irish women’s team that together faced Argentina, England, USA, Italy and Brazil at the inaugural Women’s Polo World Cup last April to emerge sixth from the ‘Olympics of Polo’.

The pony line at Bishopland Polo Club, where every game begins

Bishopland Polo Club coach Alejo Tagle settles young rider Sadhbh Stewart into the saddle in preparation for learning how to connect the swing of the mallet with the ball

Bishopland Polo Club staff Sophie O’Neill works from the ground up to each of the young riders in their beginner polo lessons

“It (polo) is different because of the adrenaline in us,” said 16-year-old Calliaghstown Pony Club member Jessica O’Carroll who was at Bishopland for her fourth consecutive year in the coaching programme. “All galloping towards the same ball, pushing against each other to get each other off the line of the ball.”

“You should definitely try it,” added Chica Donohue, another fourth-year veteran. “Because if you don’t try it, you won’t know.”

Find out more about coached lessons and playing polo at Bishopland Polo club at https://www.facebook.com/bishoplandpolo/.


Tags: Arts & Culture Irish Polo Irish Horse Sports Visit Ireland


Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is Pynck.com’s Ireland Correspondent. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Adult Education Creative Writing Studies. Through a media career spanning nearly 25 years Kim has written and photographed regional news, national and international horse sports, fashion and lifestyle. Kim lives with her husband and son in Kildare Ireland, and a stray marmalade cat who has adopted the family.

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