Gemma has an ability to make everyone feel relaxed, at home and important - which is remarkable given the challenges faced when flying a team around the globe. Not only does she look after the Irish Rugby 7’s team (the team that set the world alight last season by starting up and instantly winning silverware and qualifying for the World cup!), but to add to what is already enough of a challenge, she looked after the 15’s team that again created history by beating England in the 6 Nations (England earlier beat NZ, current world champions, convincingly in a 3 test series) and winning the 6 Nations.
This is a person who is BUSY and yet she has time for you, for everyone. Gemma ensures that all the things that managers are there to do, are done with incredible efficiency - but this is just the logistics of the job to her, the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the job. What she really focuses on is the individuals, ‘the girls’. She is protective, caring and incredibly good at ensuring that each person is in a good place and that all those problems and niggles are fixed without making that person think they are a problem.
To finish it all off, to those external to the team she is effortless, understanding and genuinely interested in what they have to say and trying to help as much as possible, whilst protecting her ‘girls’.
There is a wonderful atmosphere in the Irish team and Gemma personifies this - but as any manager, she is in the background - and she deserves recognition for who she is and how she conducts herself. I defy anyone to meet her and not be won over by that smile, banter, chat and genuineness. Gemma is a true star.