The Front Row Union are starting our countdown to the IRB 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. There’s only 45 days to go until Ireland kick off against the USA and this week we’ll be bringing you three articles on the team and management.
I had the good fortune to call in at the 2nd Training Camp to see how preparations are progressing to date and I must say the players are looking pretty sharp.
I know, thanks to our contacts in the Midwest, there are a fair few American readers of this blog so I’m not going to give too much away regarding strategy and style of play but I will say that this looks like it’ll be the best prepared Ireland Women’s team ever.
I’ll be bringing you interviews with Head Coach Philip Doyle and Attack Coach Greg McWilliams during the week but today we’ll just have a quick look at the 32 player Training Squad.
The original squad consisted of 33 players but unfortunately Ulster’s experienced hooker Stacey Lea Kennedy has had to withdraw due to injury.
This leaves the Ulster contingent at three with Belfast Harlequins Ashleigh Baxter, Cooke’s Grace Davitt and Donegal Exile Larissa Muldoon all taking part.
Twelve teams will compete in the 2014 World Cup in the following Pools.
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C|
|Samoa||New Zealand||South Africa|
Ireland are drawn in a tough pool alongside, current World Champions, New Zealand, USA and Kazakhstan and will need to win the pool or qualify as the highest placed runners up if they are to achieve their goal of a top four placing.
It can’t be denied that the size of the challenge that lies before them is a big one. New Zealand have won every IRB sanctioned World Cup since the competition’s formation in 1998, and during that time Ireland have never finished higher than seventh, but Ireland have improved dramatically over the past four years and this group of players won’t regard themselves as underdogs.
Ireland’s Pool Fixtures.
|Fri 1st Aug||USA||Ireland|
|Tue 5th Aug||New Zealand||Ireland|
|Sat 9th Aug||Ireland||Kazakhstan|
Ireland Women Training Squad.
Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Gill Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile), Hannah Casey (Saracens/Exile), Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster), Kerrie-Ann Craddock (Saracens/Exile), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht), Ashling Hutchings (UL Bohemians/Munster), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster), Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Vikki McGinn (Blackrock/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/UCC/Connacht), Sarah Mimnagh (Richmond/Exile), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Larissa Muldoon (Bristol/Exile), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster), Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile), Juliet Short (Newcastle/Exile), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)