The Irish Women’s World Cup Squad went through their paces at a damp Malahide Rugby Club on Friday morning in preparation for their final practice match against Wales which takes place this Sunday.
It was a fairly relaxed session with the coaches working on fine tuning the team, working first with the backs and forwards then bringing the squad together to work on various scenarios.
The players have a busy weekend with two session on Friday interspersed with an official photo-shoot and on Saturday they will be at the Aviva Stadium for a half-time appearance during the Combined Provence’s match.
Sunday morning sees an early start with the team flying to Wales for their final workout and the coaching staff must be getting close to settling on their starting XV for their opening World Cup match against England on August 20th.
Ulster’s Eliza Downey featured well in the workout and may have forced her way into a starting place with some slick moves showing a good burst of pace.
Ireland Team Manager Rachel Reid, who’s been involved with the Ireland set up for over 13 years, believes that this will be the fittest side Ireland have put out but is also aware that the standard in the Women’s game is getting higher year on year with teams like England investing in a three month camp for their World Cup squad.
Ireland’s girls appeared relaxed and confident throughout their morning session but it was evident that there was an underlying determination to upset the hosts on the opening day of the World Cup.
Ireland Squad. Backs: Louise Beamish, Niamh Briggs, Helen Brosnan, Lynn Cantwell, Amy Davis, Eliza Downey, Shannon Houston, Mairead Kelly, Joanne O’Sullivan, Tania Rosser, Jackie Shiels, Nora Stapleton.
Forwards: Louise Austin, Gillian Bourke, Orla Brennan, Fiona Coghlan (C), Laura Guest, Chris Fanning, Caroline Mahon, Claire Molloy, Joy Neville, Yvonne Nolan, Kate O’Loughlin, Marie Louise Reilly, Sinead Ryan, Carol Staunton.
The IRB Women’s World Cup takes place in Surrey, kicking off on Friday 20th August 2010 and finishing on Sunday 5th September with finals matches at The Stoop.
Ireland are in a tough group with England, USA and Kazakhstan. Their pool fixtures are:
Friday 20th August, 18:30 – England v Ireland
Tuesday 24th August, 16:30 – USA v Ireland
Saturday 28th August, 16:30 – Ireland v Kazakhstan