There are eight Ulster players named in the 34 player Ireland squad named for the RBS Women’s Six Nations earlier today.
The squad sees the return of Belfast Harlequins pair Ashleigh Baxter and Nikki Caughey for the second season and they are joined by Stacey Lea Kennedy (City of Derry) who returns to the Ireland set up for the fourth year after hitting a rich vein or form during the recent Inter-provincials.
The experienced Amy Davis (Blackrock) and Grace Davitt (Cooke) have both been in the squad longer than I’ve been keeping records 🙂 and the girls are joined by Davitt’s Cooke team mate Fiona O’Brien who had an impressive Inter-provincial series alongside Kennedy in the Ulster front row.
The remainder of the Ulster representation is made up of Exiles Lauren Day who is currently playing for Wellington in England and Larissa Muldoon who’s turning out for Cardiff Metropolitan University while completing her studies in Wales.
It’s a busy and exciting time in Irish Women’s Rugby with this season’s Six Nations sessions overlapping with the preparations for the World Cup 7’s Championships and with many players involved in both camps there are bound to be some difficult decisions further down the line.
Ulster players Jemma Jackson, Nikita Armstrong, Gemma McCutcheon, Imogen Porter and Shirelle Wilson have been invited to join the 7’s training.
Ireland Women Six Nations Squad.
Backs (16): Christine Arthurs (Connacht), Ashleigh Baxter (Ulster), Niamh Briggs (Munster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond), Nikki Caughey (Ulster), Amy Davis (Ulster), Grace Davitt (Ulster), Nicole Fitzgerald (Munster), Hat Hewitt (Exile), Shannon Houston (Leinster) Ashling Hutchings (Munster), Niamh Kavanagh (Munster), Alison Miller (Connacht), Larissa Muldoon (Exile), Jenny Murphy (Leinster), Nora Stapleton (Leinster).
Forwards (18): Gillian Bourke (Munster), Fiona Coghlan (Leinster), Leigh Dargan (Exile), Lauren Day (Exile), Ailis Egan (Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Munster), Laura Guest (Munster), Fiona Hayes (Munster), Stacey-Lea Kennedy (Ulster), Sharon Lynch (Leinster), Claire Molloy (Exile), Joy Neville (Munster), Heather O’Brien (Munster), Fiona O’Brien (Ulster), Laura Quinn (Exile), Marie Louise Reilly (Leinster), Sophie Spence (Exile).