Four Irish officials have recently been named as match officials for the Rugby World Cup 2023, with Joy Neville making history by being named the first female official at a men's Rugby World Cup.
While Neville continues to trend social media following the World Rugby announcement, she's received numerous applaudable achievements throughout her career. From player to referee, Neville has definitely been a trailblazer in the world of rugby.
Here are 10 things you should know about Joy Neville:
1. Neville was born and raised in Limerick - she grew up with four brothers rugby-playing older brothers.
2. From 2002, she played for clubs Shannon and UL Bohemians before going on to represent Munster (helping them win six interprovincial titles).
3. Between 2003 - 2013, Neville played for Ireland's national women's team - she represented Ireland at the 2006 and 2010 Women's Rugby World Cups.
4. In 2009, she was named the national team's captain, and she led the women's national team to become the first Ireland rugby team to ever defeat France.
5. Neville played for the national team when Ireland won their first Grand Slam title and the Triple Crown title in 2013.
🏆10 Years Ago Today.
History was made. Ireland won a first ever @Womens6Nations Grand Slam.#NothingLikeIt
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 17, 2023
6. After retiring as a national player, Neville was invited by David McHugh, an IRFU referee performance officer, to become a referee. She made her first international referee appearance at the Women's Six Nations Championships in August 2016.
7. She first made history in 2016, when she became the first female professional rugby referee to take charge of national leagues of Ireland, Wales and Italy matches.
8. Her career as a professional referee has only grown since 2017, and she became the first woman to referee many men's tournaments - including an Excellence match, Rugby Europe Conference match, Welsh Premier Division, Pro14 match and became the first female TMO in the men's Six Nations Championship in 2021.
9. In 2017, Neville won the World Rugby Referee of the Year and the Munster Rugby Referee of the Year awards. She also went on to win People of the Year Awards – Sportsperson of the Year in 2018.
10. Neville is happily married to Simona Coppola and the couple have a son.