Former Ireland captain and Six Nations Grand Slam winner Joy Neville has announced her retirement from rugby, having made 70 appearances in ten years for her country.

Neville, who was a key member of the historic 2013 Grand Slam winning team earlier this year, started her career with UL Bohemians and went on to captain both club and country. 

Known for her hard running and hard tackling, she also took pride in being an advocate for women's rugby as the sport has grown in recent years.

Speaking about her career, she said "Today I announce my retirement from a sport that has given me endless challenges, great entertainment and amazing achievements, none more memorable than our Grand Slam victory which was 11 years in the making.

"Throughout my years involved with the Irish team I can categorically state that I would not have had dedicated the last decade of my life to this sport if it were not for those whom I had the pleasure to play alongside.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone and most importantly past players who laid the foundation. All who fought for the women's team through thick and thin which provided us with our strong platform that we have attained."

Ireland women's coach Philip Doyle paid tribute to Neville and believes she is an inspiration to women’s rugby.

He said: "Joy is an exceptional rugby player and her talent and ability had a huge impact on every game. Her selfless playing style was always for the good of the team.

"She has left a lasting impression not only to the squad but on women's rugby in general. She will be sorely missed and we wish her all the best in her career as coach and an incredible ambassador for the sport."

Looking to the future, Neville will still be involved with rugby as she aims to continue to help the game evolve.

Neville said: "Now I look forward to the next chapter of my life which I hope to continue as director of rugby in Limerick Institute of Technology and an Ambassador for Irish ladies' rugby with Euro Rugby tours.

"I hope to look back in ten years and see a vibrant and healthy women's rugby scene, with the ultimate aim of witnessing Irish women's rugby becoming professional."