Beth Buttimer ready to take the international stage by storm

Buttimer will star in the landmark Women's Summer Series in Parma

By Joe Harvey

Beth Buttimer has enjoyed a sensational season and has now set her sights even higher after being named in the Ireland Under-20 squad for the inaugural Women's Summer Series.

The 18-year-old forward has already helped UL Bohemian RFC to their first AIL title in six years, while the teenager from Tipperary also represented home province Munster on three occasions and the Clovers in the Celtic Challenge competition.

One of the leaders in Niamh Briggs’ 28-player squad that will play three games in 10 days in Parma, Italy, Buttimer comes into the competition looking to kick on from her breakthrough campaign.

Capable of playing hooker and in the back row, Buttimer believes her team is up to the task ahead at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

“I think we’re all nervous, which is a good thing,” Buttimer said.

“It puts a bit of fire in the belly. It’s going to be a tough tournament playing in that sort of heat.

“It will be a big challenge. Three 80-minute games in two weeks is a lot with a small squad of 28.

“We are really looking forward to it, we’re really excited and just looking to put our best foot forward and put our hands up individually for the next year of rugby as well.

“We’re a very passionate team. At the end of the day this is not so much a silverware tournament. It is very much development.

“It’s a massive stepping stone for a lot of girls, because they haven’t played at this intensity at all in their life.”

Buttimer is very much at home on the rugby pitch.

Despite growing up in a rugby family the 18-year-old did not take up the sport until she was 14.

Branded as too rough for hockey and Gaelic football, the organised chaos of the rugby field has seen her thrive.

A versatile forward, she even made history with her brother, Henry, when the duo made their age grade debuts for Ireland in the same year.

The first brother-sister combination to do so, Buttimer has carried on her progress on the field and is due to play a major part in Italy.

There is more to look forward to, with Buttimer hoping to stake a claim in the senior Ireland set-up in the months to come.

Qualifying for WXV1 thanks to a third-place Guinness Women’s Six Nations finish earlier this year, it would be the culmination of a long-held ambition.

“Obviously that is the end goal and you have got to always set your standards really high,” Buttimer said.

“You’ve got to be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone constantly. If not, you’re never going to get better.

“It’s definitely in the back of your mind. There are a lot of girls on our team that are trying to put their hands up for selection.

“But you’ve got to keep your head down and make sure that we’re still working towards that end goal.”

The Women’s Summer Series is available to fans all over the world via exclusive coverage on the Six Nations U20 YouTube channels, with supporting coverage across dedicated U20 Six Nations social media channels.