An Ireland Women’s squad of 25 players has been named for the forthcoming Women’s RBS 6 Nations Championship. Ireland head coach Philip Doyle has included a number of seasoned internationals alongside some new faces who have emerged this season.
Ulster prop Lauren Day, who missed out on the World Cup last year when she picked up a late injury, is back in the panel and is joined in the front row by fellow Ulster player Stacey-Lea Kennedy. The squad also features Donegal’s Larissa Muldoon who is currently studying in Cardiff. Cooke’s Imogen Porter missed out on this occasion as did Eliza Downey who is still recovering from her ankle injury picked up against Leinster in the Inter Provincials.
The squad sees ten uncapped players in the mix following a series of retirements after last years Women’s World Cup but with key players Coghlan, Briggs, Neville and Cantwell still competing the team will be looking to push on from their World Cup performance in England where they defeated Scotland to finish 7th.
A lot will depend on how well the team travels as Ireland are currently ranked higher than Italy, Wales and Scotland but face difficult away games in all these fixtures. However if they can get a result in next Saturday’s match against Italy in Rovigio and then turn over the tempremental French at Ashbourne the following week their momentum may well carry them through to a Six Nations showdown with England 0n 18th March.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (2011 RBS 6 Nations Championship):
Gillian Bourke (Munster), Niamh Briggs (Munster), Lynne Cantwell (Exile), Fiona Coghlan (Leinster), Amy Davis (Leinster), Lauren Day (Ulster), Ailis Egan (Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Munster), Laura Guest (Munster), Ashling Hutchings (Munster), Niamh Kavanagh (Munster), Mairead Kelly (Munster), Stacey-Lea Kennedy (Ulster), Emer McManamly (Leinster), Claire Molloy (Connacht), Larissa Muldoon (Exile), Joy Neville (Munster), Gill Nolan (Leinster), Deirdre O’Brien (Leinster), Heather O’Brien (Munster), Geraldine Rea (Munster), Marie Louise Reilly (Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Leinster), Nora Stapleton (Leinster), Carol Staunton (Connacht).
IRELAND WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES:
Sunday, February 6: Italy Women v Ireland Women, Rovigo, 2.30pm local time/1.30pm Irish time
Friday, February 11: Ireland Women v France Women, Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm
Saturday, February 26: Scotland Women v Ireland Women, Lasswade RFC, 2pm
Sunday, March 13: Wales Women v Ireland Women, Cross Keys RFC, 2.30pm
Friday, March 18: Ireland Women v England Women, Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm