Ulster have made four changes to the starting XV for this Saturdays Inter Provincial against Munster at Ravenhill. KO 1:30pm.
Cooke’s Teah Maguire fills the full back berth following the injury to Eliza Downey in a positional switch which sees City of Derry’s Kelly Holmes take Maguire’s place on the wing. Derry’s Bridin McDermott comes into the squad as full back cover on the bench.
Cavan hooker Hilary Quinn gets a start at No 2. with City of Derry’s dynamic Stacey Lea Kennedy moving to wing forward and Shirelle Wilson dropping to the bench.
For those of you not going to Dublin this match offers a great opportunity to catch up on the women’s game and to show your support for this quickly developing young Ulster team who will be facing another tough test against an experienced Munster side.
The Women’s game in Ireland has improved dramatically over the last few years and while it will never have the power and the pace of the men’s game it does offer a lot in terms of skills.
As with the men’s game Ulster have slipped behind Leinster and Munster in recent seasons but this season sees a big shake up in the Ulster team with a lot of new faces joining the squad and while there may have been a few rough edges to the play last week against Leinster the Ulster team impressed with their attitude and commitment and the style of rugby they tried to play.
Here’s our own unique run down of the starting XV:
1. Lizzie “The Professor” Ballentine (Cooke) – Captain and intellectual of the team – which is unusual for a prop! This Cambridge Blue works out all the right angles on and off the field.
2. Hilary “Put a ring on it” Quinn (Cavan) – The Cavan Kiwi showed up well when she came on against Leinster. Will be absolutely delighted with her first start.
3. Lauren “Outta my way” Day (Exile) – An unusually quiet start to the Leinster game but the Irish international rallied the troops and controlled the scrums once she got back into her stride.
4. Glenda “Tall Blond” Mellon (City of Derry) – She’s tall and she’s blond, this athletic second row puts in a lot of work round the pitch.
5. Christina “Scottie” McDowell (Cooke) – Ulster have recruited well getting the Scottish capped second row to return to her homeland. This Johann Muller type puts in the hard work at the coal face.
6. Claire “The Hair” Knipe (Belfast Harlequins) – First to get her hair braided pre-game the Quins destructive blindside doesn’t want anything blocking her view of the opposition!
7. Stacey “Pineapple” Lea Kennedy (City of Derry) – Normally a specialist hooker and known for her exotic hair styles the Derry diva will relish her new role as the link man in the back row.
8. Nikita “The Enforcer” Armstrong (Cooke) – She’ll finish what the other girls start. The strong No. 8 is not afraid of making her presence felt.
9. Imogen “Street Fighter” Porter (Cooke) – Feisty No 9 and vice captain. Likes to let her opponents know they’re in a game. Must learn to smile after she passes so we can get picture without a scowl.
10. Grace “The Boss” Davitt (Cooke) – Key kicker for the team, the hugely experienced Irish international is still showing the younger girls how it’s done.
11. Laura “Lovely” Stewart (Cooke) – Lovely leggy Laura reminds me of Tommy Bowe on the wing. The similarity doesn’t end there as she can’t sing either!
12. Laura “The Master” Nicholl (Cooke) – Been there, done that, got several tee shirts and continues to show the youngsters how to run a good line.
13. Claire “The Pupil” McLaughlin (Cooke) – Learning quickly alongside The Master.
14. Kelly “The Face” Holmes (City of Derry) – The Derry stunner gets a deserved start. Looks all sweet but tackles a treat!
15. Teah “Panther” Maguire (Cooke) – Likes to play with her prey before she pounces, letting them think they’re past her before she goes in for the kill. The surprised squeal when the opponent hits the ground is her favourite part of the game.
The bench is made up as follows:
16. Shirelle Wilson (Cooke) – Specialist back row will interchange with specialist hookers Quinn and Kennedy if required.
17. Lucy Fagan (Cooke) – front row cover, should get substantial game time.
18. Nicola Dickson (Cooke) – hard working second row will normally get a run out.
19. Brigid Reynolds (Cavan) – back row cover, coped well with the pace of the game in her first appearance against Leinster
20. Zoe Templeton (Belfast Harlequins) – another feisty wee scrum half but also offers a lot on the wing. Hard as nails.
21. Alana McCaffrey (Enniskillen) – will be looking for a bit more game time in the centre this week.
22. Bridin McDermott (City of Derry) – steps into the squad this week as cover for full back.