20 Jun, 09:22
Ireland Women's Sevens coach Jon Skurr has announced a 12 woman squad for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow (June 29th/30th).
Mick Galwey's Shannon, who will be gunning for a third AIL title in four seasons at Lansdowne Road next weekend, lead the way with five places on the selection, decided upon by The Irish Times rugby writers team of Gerry Thornley, John O'Sullivan, Johnny Waterson and Gavin Cummiskey, with the not too considerable help of a number of top flight coaches.
Skipper and lock Tom Hayes, top try-scoring centre Brian Tuohy, hooker Nigel Conroy, burly tighthead prop Tony Buckley and Munster-contracted flanker Stephen Keogh came out on top in their respective positions for Galwey's table-topping lot.
First-time finalists 'Quins, who came from behind to beat Shannon 19-18 in the league proper last December, have had talismanic fly-half Ian Humphreys and former Ireland Under-21 prop Declan Fitzpatrick included in the XV.
With the league now ever reliant on young homegrown talents, Trinity tyro Jamie Heaslip - a team mate of Fitzpatrick in the Ireland Under-21s side which lost last year's IRB Under-21 World Cup final to New Zealand - takes the number 8 berth, while Garryowen's 21-year-old starlet Gerry Hurley has risen to the top of the scrum-half charts.
Lansdowne and Leinster flanker Niall Ronan assumes the openside role on the XV. The 22-year-old wing forward is one of three players included who also made the 2003/04 selection.
The 24-year-old Hayes - who lined out twice for Munster in their Celtic League run this past season - and Leicester-bound Humphreys - then of Ballymena - were chosen for last year's team.
The players will receive their awards at a lunch later this month.
AIB/Irish Times Team Of The Season 2004/05:
(15) Ross McCarron (UCD) (14) Niall O'Brien (Clontarf) (13) Andrew Trimble (Ballymena) (12) Brian Tuohy (Shannon) (11) Ted Robinson (Buccaneers) (10) Ian Humphreys (Belfast Harlequins) (9) Gerry Hurley (Garryowen) (1) Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins) (2) Nigel Conroy (Shannon) (3) Tony Buckley (Shannon) (4) Simon Crawford (UCD) (5) Tom Hayes (Shannon) (6) Stephen Keogh (Shannon) (7) Niall Ronan (Lansdowne) (8) Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University)