Ulster Women are on the road for their second Interprovincial, playing Connacht at the Sportsground tomorrow afternoon. (KO 3:00 pm)
There are a few changes to the starting XV from the team that lost to Munster last weekend with Cooke’s openside flanker Beth Cregan making her debut in the back row alongside Enniskillen’s Noreen Nethercot who is also brought into the side. Queen’s University hooker Janine Mullan is the only other change up front.
The the backs, Stacey Sloan and Gemma McCutcheon form an all-new centre partnership. Emma Jordan (left wing), Vicky Irwin (right wing) and Peita McAlister (fullback) start in different positions than they played last week. Maybe a good move for the impressive McAlister who should see more ball at the back.
Despite Ulster having the edge over Connacht the last few seasons I’m afraid it will be another backs to the wall game for Ulster as Connacht have a much more settled side this season and they won’t be impacted as much by missing internationals. In fact I had the Westies tipped as the team to win the series this season though their narrow defeat to Leinster last weekend may have ruled that out!
If Ulster are going to get anything out of his game they will certainly have to improve their play at contact as they turned over far to much ball, in attack and defence, last time out and what ball they did secure they tended to kick away fairly cheaply.
The talented Jemma Jackson will need to take the game by the scruff of the neck and get Ulster on the front foot. With the abrasive McCutcheon in midfield and McAllister running from deep they may stand a chance of an upset.
|Connacht Women||Ulster Women|
|Mairead Coyne||15||Peita McAlister|
|Jill Draper||14||Vicky Irwin|
|Emma Clery||13||Gemma McCutcheon|
|Niamh Ni Dromha||12||Stacey Sloan|
|Emer O Mahony||11||Emma Jordan|
|Clare Rafferty||10||Jemma Jackson|
|Mary Healy||9||Imogen Porter|
|Laura Feely||1||Ilse Van Staden|
|Ciara O’Connor||2||Janine Mullan|
|Ruth O’Reilly||3||Nikita Armstrong|
|Rita Breen||4||Sorcha Chipperfield|
|Catriona Cassidy||5||Lizzie Ballentine|
|Marion Sheridan||6||Noreen Nethercot|
|Heather Cary||7||Beth Creggan|
|Grainne Egan||8||Lauren Maginnes|
|Jean Moore||16||Sabrina Higgins|
|Edel Durkin||17||Lesley Megarity|
|Edel McMahon||18||Alanagh Chipperfield|
|Niamh Dempsey||19||Shirelle Wilson|
|Lisa McDonagh||20||Laura Johnston|
|Nicole Fowley||21||Steffi Clarke|
|Jacqui Mulligan||22||Emma Rea|
|AN Other||23||Rebecca Smyth|