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O’Sullivan to Coach Women’s Team

O’Sullivan to Coach Women’s Team

The Ireland Women’s team has taken a leaf out of their male counterparts’ book by hiring a head coach who hails from Cork by the name of O’Sullivan.

…Women’s World XV Number 10 Sarahjane Belton is included in the Women’s Squad for the 6 Nations…

The Ireland Women’s team has taken a leaf out of their male counterparts’ book by hiring a head coach who hails from Cork by the name of O’Sullivan.

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Cobh man John O’Sullivan will be hoping to have as much success as his namesake Eddie, having officially been appointed as coach to the girls in green on Wednesday.

He succeeds Philip Doyle who helped guide Ireland to an historic eighth place finish at last September’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in Canada.

A co-owner and managing director of Diamond Shipping Services, O’Sullivan has already named a training panel of 36 players – 22 from the World Cup squad and 14 newcomers – with the squad’s first official get-together planned for this weekend at Malahide RFC.

Mark Andrews will remain on as team manager for 2007, former international player Rachel Reid continues as assistant manager while Blackrock’s Ray Ward has come on board as assistant coach.

A former Munster Junior player, O’Sullivan was captain of Cobh Pirates for seven seasons before going on to coach the club and more recently, AIB League side Highfield.

With Ireland opening their Six Nations campaign away to Wales on Saturday, February 3 (Taffs Well RFC, 3pm), O’Sullivan is eagerly awaiting his first game in charge.

“It’s an honour to be involved with the national team, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of taking the team to the next level,” he said.

“I have been hugely impressed with the commitment and the dedication that the squad have shown so far and am relishing the opportunity of working with them.

“The way I look at is it that they are rugby players representing their country and it doesn’t matter if they are male or female. There is a lot of quality in this Irish side and I can see what heights they are capable of.”

Commenting on his first squad, he added: “These are high quality players with lots of ability and in the short term it’s about maximising what we can do with the players. Long term, I would like to look more at upping their fitness programmes and their conditioning but I’m looking at the Six Nations now.

“We have a lot of players who haven’t had much involvement in the national set-up at all so it’s good for them to be exposed to this level.”

Unsurprisingly, Munster, the recent winners of the Interprovincial play-offs, supply 13 of their first choice players to the Irish squad, including captain Sarahjane Belton.

Experienced backs Lynne Cantwell and Joanne O’Sullivan, who now play for Richmond in England, are both included while hooker Jean Lonergan and lock Germaine Healy have made the cut despite announcing their retirements in the aftermath of the World Cup.


Marie Barrett (Highfield), Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians), Sarahjane Belton (UL Bohemians), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians), Rachel Boyd (Cooke), Orla Brennan (Blackrock), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond), Debbie Clarke (Blackrock), Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians), Grace Davitt (Blackrock), Sinead Delany (Boyne), Chris Fanning (Highfield), Jeannette Feighery (UL Bohemians), Nicole Fitzgerald (UL Bohemians), Suzanne Fleming (Cooke), Amanda Greensmith (Shannon), Laura Guest (Clonakilty), Germaine Healy (Rathdrum), Shannon Houston (Blackrock), Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians), Jessika Limbert (Cooke), Jean Lonergan (Clonmel), Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians), Kerry Maxwell (Cooke), Louise McKeever (Dundalk), Caitriona Nic Caba (Newbridge), Yvonne Nolan (Blackrock), Deirdre O’Brien (UL Bohemians), Paula O’Connor (Shannon), Kate O’Loughlin (Clonmel), Eimear O’Sullivan (Clonakilty), Joanne O’Sullivan (Richmond), Janet Reid (Cooke), Tania Rosser (Blackrock), Sinead Ryan (Navan), Deirdre Scannell (Clonakilty).