The teams are up for the final Women’s Interprovincial of the season between Ulster and Connacht which takes place tomorrow afternoon as the centrepiece of a festival of women’s rugby at Belfast Harlequins. The festivities at Deramore start at 13:30 with the Interprovincial starting at 15:00.
There are five changes to the side that started against Munster with Aishling O’Connell, Amanda Maginn and Lesley Megarity promoted to starting berths in the forwards and Amy Graham and Leah McGoldrick starting in the backs.
Ulster captain, Larissa Muldoon has been switched from out half to full back and Nikki Caughey has moved from centre to out half.
At the start of this series I would have put money on Ulster winning this one, however, now I’m not so sure. Connacht have had a considerably better campaign than Ulster with a win, against Munster, and a narrow loss, against Leinster, to their credit. Ulster, on the other hand, have been soundly beaten by the same opponents.
I don’t know what has been going on at Galwegians this season, but it doesn’t seen to have travelled with their players to the provincial set up, which should have Ulster worried.
On the plus side, Cooke, who form the bulk of the Ulster team, have beaten Galwegians, who form the bulk of the Connacht side, this season so I expect this game to be a lot closer than the previous two outings for the Ulster players.
If Ulster are going to get anything out of this it will need big games up front from O’Connell and Maginn in particular. These two should add a bit of extra grunt, but they need to give everything they’ve got for 50 minutes to soften up the Connacht pack before the finishers are brought on to close out the game.
The FRU Predicts: What the hell, I’m going for a sneaky wee Ulster win.
|Ulster Women||Connacht Women|
|Larissa Muldoon||15||Mairead Coyne|
|Leah McGoldrick||14||Orla Dixon|
|Brittany Hogan||13||Shannon Tuohey|
|Peita McAlister||12||Jane O’Neill|
|Amy Graham||11||Ali Miller|
|Nikki Caughey||10||Hilary Griffin|
|Kathryn Dane||9||Mary Healy|
|Ilse van Staden||1||Laura Feely|
|Neve Jones||2||Ciara O’Connor|
|Aishling O’Connell||3||Anne-Marie O’Hora|
|Hannah Beattie||4||Amelie roux|
|Amanda Maginn||5||Nicola Caldbeck|
|Beth Cregan||6||Edel McMahon|
|Lesley Megarity||7||Grainne Egan|
|Lauren Maginnes||8||Nichola Fryday|
|Gemma McCutcheon||16||Ellie Dillane|
|Helen McGhee||17||Katie O’Dwyer|
|Sorcha Mac Laimhin||18||Denise Redmond|
|Rebecca Smyth||19||Karen Douglas|
|Storm Cobain||20||Sabina Egan|
|Emma Jordan||21||Shannen Lane|
|Claire Johnston||22||Niamh Ni Dhroma|
|Eliza Downey||23||Clodagh Dunne|