The Women’s section of the club has been rocked by the devastating news that Siobhan Cattigan has passed away, at the age of just 26.
Shibby was a current Scotland International and has been a cornerstone of the Stirling County Women’s team – on and off the pitch.
Shibby started playing at McLaren minis, where her brother Marc also played and Dad, Neil, was a coach. At that time, there were very few girls playing rugby. Shibby stood out amongst the boys and showed the potential as a powerful and elusive ball carrier. She is seen here in those early years, terrorising a young Stirling County boy!
Aside from a single season at Monklands, Shibby didn’t play rugby in her teens and only came back to the game when she started at Stirling University. Shibby signed up for a Fresher’s taster event and it was quickly evident that she was no beginner! The University side had really struggled the year before but had established the nucleus of a strong side. Shibby’s arrival added a new dimension. She announced herself in her first game with three tries. Her team mates couldn’t believe how good Shibby was. The team got better and better, with Shibby playing in the centres. In Shibby’s third year (2016/17), they achieved an unbeaten season, winning the BUCS Scottish League. Shibby was captain, star player and like all good Uni students, loved to grace the Fubar!
County were the beneficiaries of that University side. A number of them ‘dualled’ with the club and then stayed at County when they graduated. Rachel Shankland and Megan Kennedy were both playing some University and some County rugby at the time. Shib is pictured here as part of the ‘fab four’ who were a core of that winning University team and were also establishing themselves at Bridgehaugh.
At the time the Uni side were flying high, County Women were not quite so successful! That gradually turned around. Shibby was a key part of the transformation. She was unstoppable with the ball. “Outstanding”. Like all good nines, Jodie Hutton loved to run an inside line on her breaks, knowing there was glory to be had, when Shib had done all the hard work. As the team progressed, County reached two Plate Finals, just falling at the last hurdle to Stewartry and Watsonians. This beautiful photo shows Shibby scoring against Stewartry.
Festivals in Mull and Colonsay were a feature of those club years. The rugby on tour may not make any highlight reels but Shibby’s dancing in Colonsay is still a fond memory for her team-mates.
As Shib broke onto the international scene, she moved to the back row. Shibby won her first cap alongside Megan Kennedy in the Six Nations against Wales. In her new position Shibby mixed strong defence, powerful carrying and great handling skills. She became an accomplished lineout jumper and could also cover second row. As County were growing stronger, Shibby was joined in Scotland squads by fellow club players Rachel Shankland, Rachel McLachlan, Evie Gallagher and Eva Donaldson.
It has been a golden period for Women’s rugby. Shibby has been part of a transformation in all the teams she played for. Girls and women’s rugby has grown massively in this short period, with Shibby an absolute role model for young girls at Stirling County and in local schools.
This season, Shibby has helped the Stirling County to win a place in the Premiership play-offs. Tragically Shibby played her last game against league leaders Watsonians, with a crucial contribution to a 48-19 win. As a rugby player, Shibby will be greatly missed. As a friend and team-mate Shibby leaves a void that words can’t explain.
For all that she was a fearsome competitor, Shibby was an immensely kind, generous and gentle person off the field. Shibby adored animals, especially her pet dog Breagha. She was always there to help other people. Shibby never sought the limelight for herself – she was always happier for others to take it. Shibby was a natural talent on the rugby pitch and an inspiring ambassador for women’s rugby.
On Sunday 5th December, all six Women’s Premiership teams converged on Bridgehaugh to pay their respects to a much-loved friend. The final round of the league was abandoned, to allow the clubs to play friendlies in Stirling and be together for Shibby. Many of Shibby’s wider family were at the club to see a beautiful tribute from the rugby family in Scotland. That included some of Shibby’s young cousins in McLaren and County colours. The sun set on Bridgehaugh, as hundreds applauded in celebration of the life of one of Stirling’s finest. R.I.P Shibby