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I’ve been holding this back for a while as I can think of no better story with which to re-launch the Front Row Union as we celebrate 10 years reporting rugby in Ulster and Ireland.

One of the greatest pleasures that I’ve had over the last 10 years has been the growth of the Women’s game in Ireland and in particular the recent unprecedented success of Ireland Women, who led by Philip Doyle, won their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 2013 and battled their way to a semi final place in the 2014 World Cup.

Philip Doyle is regarded as Ireland Women’s most successful Coach having led their meteoritic rise in rankings from 2010. During his tenure Ireland Women picked up a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2013 and finished at an all time high of 4th place in the 2014 Women’s World Cup.

It therefore gives me huge pleasure to report that Philip Doyle has joined the coaching ticket for Ulster Women, alongside, Australian, Jarrett Truscott.

The rest of the management team is made up of Kerry Spence (Manager), Paul Heasley and Stewart Walker (Strength and Conditioning) and Andy Weir (Resource Co-ordinator).

The team have already started their preparations for the upcoming Women’s Inter-provincials and i jumped at the chance to get along and have a look at the new regime!

Having viewed Doyle’s Ireland training camps on several occasions it was good to see that the Ulster camp was being run with the same clinical efficiency as the players switched from one training exercise to the next with minimum fuss.

Doyle’s trademark was always to give the players a positive environment, professionally run, and it’s good to see he’s already made his mark. However, it’s a young squad, with quite a few new faces, and as such there is still a lot of work being to be carried out on the basics but, as a certain Ireland Women’s Coach once told me, it’s all about the attitude.

The first steps, in what should be an interesting journey for Ulster Women, begin in August with the Women’s Inter-provincials, as announced last week.

Saturday 22 August: Ulster v Leinster, Chambers Park, Portadown. KO 15:00
Saturday 29 August: Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, Limerick. KO 14:30
Saturday 5 September: Ulster v Connacht, Chambers Park, Portadown. KO 15:00

Hopefully we’ll get to a few more training sessions between now and then.

Ulster Women: Pre-season. Sunday 5th July, Portadown Rugby Club.

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