The teams have been announced for the Senior Women’s Interprovincial semi final between Leinster and Ulster that takes place tomorrow afternoon at St Mary’s College RFC, Dublin. Kick off 15:45.

Ulster finished the round robin series of the competition without a win and as bottom seeds they meet the top seeds, and undefeated side, Leinster. The history book doesn’t bode well for the Northern province  who have now gone 21 games without a win in this competition and haven’t secured a win against Leinster in the nine years we’ve been keeping records.

Ulster have once again made quite a few changes with three players returning to the starting line up and five positional changes after that. Another two players, the Queen’s duo Shannon Buller and Diane Ramsey, return to the squad to start from the bench where they are joined by Kathryn Dane, Keelin Brady and Holly Brannigan, who all started against Connacht.

These changes have seemed somewhat arbitrary in the past but this time, whether by luck or judgement, they have finally arrived at the back line that I would have started the competition with, with the exception of the injured Fiona Tuite who has impressed this season. However, the backs are in the positions I would favour them to be in and they could do well.

The main talking point would be Jemma Jackson starting at scrum half at the expense of Dane, the present Irish incumbent. I really like the feisty Jackson at 9 and I would have stated her there more often, bringing on the silky smooth Dane later in the game to exploit the tiring defences.

However up front, Ulster still have thier problems with second row still a major issue. There is just not the experience in the position and back-rowers Chloe McIlwaine and Lauren Maginness are being asked to fill the gap.

The Leinster machine, featuring former Ulster captain Larissa Muldoon, should march on. They have made nine changes to their starting line up, from the last time these teams met, and they have brought their big guns to the fore.

However, I suspect that Ulster, and their promising back line, led by Vicky Irwin at out half, should spring a few surprises.

How they got here. 

TEAM PL W D L PF PA DIFF TF TA TB LB PTS
Leinster Women 3 3 0 0 78 24 54 12 3 2 0 14
Munster Women 3 2 0 1 78 38 40 13 4 2 1 11
Connacht Women 3 1 0 2 32 80 -48 3 14 0 0 4
Ulster Women 3 0 0 3 36 82 -46 6 13 0 1 1

Teams

LEINSTER ULSTER
Grace Miller (Old Belvedere) 15 Ella Durkan (Malone)
Elise O’ Byrne White (Old Belvedere) 14 Lucinda Kinghan (Railway Union)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College) 13 Maeve Liston (Cooke)
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere) 12 Kelly McCormill (Cooke)
Megan Williams (Old Belvedere) 11 Emma Jordan (Malone)
Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union) 10 Vicky Irwin (Cooke)
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union) 9 Jemma Jackson (Old Belvedere)
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union RFC) 1 Megan Brodie (Harlequins)
Victoria Dabavonich O’Mahony (Old Belvedere) 2 Stacey Lea Kennedy (City of Derry)
Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere) 3 Ilse van Staden (Cooke)
Clodagh Dunne (Old Belvedere) 4 Chloe McIlwaine (Malone)
Judy Bobbett (Blackrock College) 5 Lauren Maginnes (Malone)
Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock College) 6 Katie Hetherington (Cooke)
Juliet Short (Railway Union) 7 Neve Jones (Malone)
Hannah O’ Connor (Blackrock College) 8 Beth Cregan (Cooke)
Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere) 16 Emma Kearney (Cooke)
Christy Haney (Blackrock College) 17 Aishling O’Connell (Cooke)
Katie O’ Dwyer (Railway Union) 18 Shannon Heapes (Cooke)
Aoife McDermott (Railway Union) 19 Shannon Buller (Queen’s University)
Daisy Earle (Railway Union 20 Keelin Brady (Barnhall)
Molly Scuffil McCabe (Railway Union) 21 Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere)
Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere) 22 Diane Ramsey (Queen’s University)
Aimee Clarke (Railway Union) 23 Holly Brannigan (Malone)
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