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