The teams for the U18 Girls Interprovincial between Munster and Ulster at Irish Independent Park, Cork, have been announced. The match takes part as a double header with the senior Women’s sides on Saturday 17th August, the U18’s kicking off at 13:00 and the Seniors at 15:00.

It’s pleasing to see a bit of good work being done on the Interprovincials with these double headers and the competition being extended to five games.

On the downside, it’s a pity that the Home Nations Sevens Tournaments clash with two rounds of the U18 interpros, both these squads losing three players each for this round and probably something similar for the final set of round robin matches in two weeks time.

What to Ulster need to do?

Ulster U18’s have an impressive head to head record against their Munster counterparts winning two out of their three meetings, Ulster scoring 63 points to Munster’s 36 over the three games.

However, they will need to improve on their performance in their only other run out this season, when they recorded a scrappy 17 – 13 win against USA touring side Midwest Thunderbirds.  Ulster tended to overcomplicate things that day and didn’t play to the strengths of their powerful pack.

Hopefully we’ll see a bit of honest endeavour and they take it on up front for a few phases before looking for space out wide. They certainly have the players to punch up the yards through the centre.

Why this season is important?

This is just as important a season for the U18’s as it is for the Seniors.

The players are going into this competition with very little XV’s experience after the U18 programme was reformatted into a series of blitzes due to teams struggling to complete league fixtures.

The bulk of these players will play more fifteen a side games over the next five weeks than they will over the rest of the season and, as with the seniors, I am looking for a series of improved performances throughout the tournament as the players and the coaches take advantage of the increased game time.

Hopefully, a successful competition for the U18’s will give Ulster Rugby and the clubs an appetite to organise some more 15 a-side tournaments for these players, and their club mates, over the coming season.

The Teams?

The U18 sides have historically been dominated by Virginia players but this year sees Enniskillen RFC as the dominant club, with seven players representing. Malone are next with five in the squad and Virgina are third alongside Dungannon, and Ballyclare with two each.

Shout out for my local side Larne, who have Toni Macartney representing at out half, with Cooke, Dundalk, Ballyshannon and City of Armagh also putting forward one player each.

The team will be captained by Virginia, and FRU Favourite, Ava Fannin with, Monaghans finest, Ella Garland, as vice captain. Garland will be reuniting with AIL side Cooke immediately after the interpro competition. 

Munster U18 Girls Ulster U18 Girls
Vivienne O’Donovan 15 Farrah McCloskey
Aoife Corey 14 Sophie Kinghan
Saskia Morrisey 13 Zara Flack
Alan McInerney 12 Moya Hill
Aoibheen O’Loughlan 11 Lucy Thompson
Emma Connolly 10 Toni Macartney
Courtney Duhig 9 Sarah Shrestha
Eileen Gleeson 1 Ella Garland
Sarah Murphy (C) 2 Aoife Cahill
Erika Kiely 3 Ava Fannin (C)
Eilish Cahill 4 Kim Johnston
Aine Enright 5 Taryn Schutzler
Aallah Tepou 6 Sophie Barrett
Faye Dowling 7 Erin Carson
Eimear Minihan 8 India Daley
Rebecca Collins 16 Cara O’Neill
Chloe Ann O’Driscoll 17 Hannah Cooney
Niamh Thonton 18 Delyth Cook
Marea Walsh 19 Samantha Cassidy Campbell
Alex O’Sullivan 20 Rachel McGee
Clodagh McMahon 21 Lauren Kilfedder
Roisin Houlihane 22 Emma Ryan
Jennifer Fogarty 23 Jenna Corkey