The Emerald Warriors inspired Brendan to rediscover his athletic side and encouraged him to be himself
It can take courage and strength to be you but sometimes it is easier to be ourselves when we have heroes and role models that inspire us. As part of the #BeYourself campaign we hope to inspire our community by highlighting role models and inspiring individuals and also clubs and societies than enable us to embrace who we are.
Hi there, my name is Brendan Culleton. I’m 27 years old from Wexford living in Dublin. I am going to talk about my journey of joining the Emerald Warriors RFC. Emerald Warriors is a club that provides an open and inclusive environment to play rugby.
When I was younger, athletics was a major part of my teen life. During my early 20’s, coming out was a challenging time for me which lead to sport becoming less of a priority in my life.
Fast forward to last year at Dublin Pride, I ended up talking to one of the Emerald Warrior members who encouraged me to attend the clubs training open day in July. I saw this as an opportunity to get back into sport.
Arriving on the open day I was extremely nervous, I didn’t know anyone and I hadn’t played much rugby before. Yet within the first 10 minutes the nervousness disappeared with the warm welcome I received from everyone.
Through the club, I have met so many great guys and have made great friends. Becoming a member of the Emerald Warriors allowed me to develop a sense of belonging. This developed through continuous support and camaraderie amongst the players, coaches, committee members and supporters.
Every week I would look forward to training. Socialising amongst the others and developing rugby skills. Weekends we would be faced with league matches. Here I would encounter the knocks and bruising that come with rugby, but also learned to bring immense adrenalin and determination to help the team succeed the best I could. It has helped improve my fitness and increased my confidence in all aspects of life.
The social aspect of the club is also fantastic. Club nights out are great craic and always a laugh. My holidays over the year have become filled with trips away with the team to other rugby tournaments in Europe. Giving me the chance to meet other rugby players and form new friendships.
Success only came recently over the May bank holiday weekend, when we travelled to Madrid to take part in the Union Cup. The Union cup is a gay rugby tournament bringing together teams from all over Europe. With all our hard training and league matches behind us from the previous months, we won the Bronze cup! Not only did we achieve the Bronze Cup, we also won the bid to host this Union tournament in Dublin in 2019.
Emerald Warriors are always looking for new members to expand the warriors’ community. Whether you have played rugby before or never held a rugby ball in your life, the club is welcoming to all fitness levels and abilities. I would highly recommend joining the Emerald Warriors, a club that truly lets you be yourself, whilst learning to play rugby and developing invaluable team spirit.
Considering the amount I have achieved in just under a year all thanks to an amazing bunch of guys, you too could achieve the same or even represent your country in the Union Cup in 2019. It will no doubt be a fantastic weekend of rugby in Dublin from what I experienced in the Union Cup in Madrid. Checkout the Emerald Warrior website for any upcoming events and open days.
Turning up at the open day nearly a year ago is one of the best decisions I have made. The Emerald Warriors have given me the confidence to express who I am. To become part of a team that encourages each other and a place to make lifelong friends through playing rugby.
I’d like to thank the LGBT helpline for considering me as part of the be yourself campaign to allow me to share my experience with the Emerald Warriors. Also thanks to all the Emerald Warriors members for their devotion, hard work and commitment.
For more on the Emerald Warriors, check out the links below: