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Beibhinn Parsons describes 2020 as a "roller-coaster" – and in her case it's something of an understatement.
Parsons, 19, scored brilliant tries against Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations at the start of the year and then got off the championship carousel to study for her Leaving Cert.
Then the Covid lockdown occurred and, in the end, the Leaving Cert students didn't get to sit their exams.
“I absolutely wanted to sit the exams," laughed Parsons.
“I was gutted that I couldn’t. I feel I’m part of the 1% that actually wanted to sit them.
“I’d have loved to have wrapped it up, put a bit of closure on it and get a result that you know you’d deserved.
“The Leaving Cert didn’t run its course but things happen and that’s the new normal.
“It was difficult. We had to remain patient. First our orals were postponed, then cancelled. Then our Leaving Cert was postponed, then cancelled.
"You had to be patient but we were all in the same boat and had to just roll with the punches and you could take that knowing you had unity with your classmates.”
But it worked out in the end for Parsons, who is now on a UCD's Ad Astra scholarship for Elite Athletes and is a Biomed student – and she's back for the end of the Six Nations, with games against Italy and France to come over the next two weekends.
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“It’s been crazy thinking I’d miss out three Six Nations matches and now only missing out one," smiled Parsons. "That’s a huge positive I’m taking in these testing times.
“I’m really excited if I get the opportunity to play. So much has been going on behind the scenes.
“We worked really closely with our Strength & Conditioning coaches through Zoom and phone calls.
"For girls who didn’t have weights we used body weight exercise. Our S&C didn’t stop at all and lots of us used the time to treat niggles and injuries.
"Rehab and come back stronger and fitter, it's actually a positive in that sense.
“I've only played internal matches with my AIL club (Blackrock). The competitive edge is still there though, so I'm not worried at all because we’re all competing for jerseys, we’ve hit the ground running and really excited to play Italy."
Parsons is staying on the Belfield campus but is keeping herself to herself.
“I'm keeping my bubble to an absolute minimum because I don’t want to put myself in jeopardy or any of my team either," she said.
"I have just three housemates and that’s my social circuit, I'm keeping it that small."
The World Cup is the ultimate dream for Parsons, although there is uncertainty now over when the final European qualifying tournament will be after it's December date was cancelled yesterday.
"For me that would be the pinnacle,” she admitted.
“It’s the peak of rugby in my eyes so of course you want to go there but you have to cross a good few bridges before you get there.
"We want three home wins in the Six Nations and that’s our focus. We won’t run before we can walk".