THE IWRFU Women’s senior Interprovincial final this Saturday promises to be one of the tightest affairs in the history of this competition, with Leinster trying to wrestle the title away from reigning champions Munster (The Sportsground, kick-off 2.45pm).
2007/08 IWRFU SENIOR INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, October 27
3rd-4th Place Play-Off –
CONNACHT v ULSTER, The Sportsground, 1pm
LEINSTER v MUNSTER, The Sportsground, 2.45pm
Munster take on Leinster in Galway and with the southern province winning on a narrow 12-8 score-line earlier on in the competition, this game is too hard to call. Last year’s final ended up in a nail-biting 11-10 victory for the girls from Munster.
The Munster team for this year’s decider shows a few changes to the side that beat Leinster last time around with out-half Nicole Fitzgerald and flanker Eimear O’Sullivan preferred to Sandra Williams and Aoife Mahony, who both drop to the bench.
Mahony, who has started every game so far, is desperately unlucky to miss out as she has been in top form this season. The selectors have opted to go with the vastly more experienced O’Sullivan to combine with last year’s Player of the Season Paula O’Connor and Ireland-capped number eight Joy Neville.
Fitzgerald comes back at number 10 after missing the last game through injury and the reshuffle in the back-line means that young Nenagh player Williams loses out.
Leinster will be confident travelling to the west after they came close to defeating the champions in their game a few weeks ago. They are welcoming back former Ireland lock Geri Healy, who should make a significant difference to their pack’s play.
Out wide they have the talent in the likes of Grace Davitt and former Munster winger Lynne Cantwell, who are two Irish internationals who can cause defences plenty of problem.
Cantwell will be a well known face to the Munster team, having lined out for the province successfully for many years, and her clubmates at UL Bohemians will know all about the threat she poses.
In the other game on Saturday, Connacht and Ulster will meet in the 3rd-4th place play-off. Connacht have warmed up for the clash by playing a number of Sevens games against a visiting Lithuanian outfit last week.
MUNSTER WOMEN (v Leinster): Amanda Greensmith; Mairead Kelly, Helen Brosnan, Patrique Kelly, Karen Fitzpatrick; Nicole Fitzgerald, Louise Beamish; Laura Guest, Jean Lonergan, Marie Barrett, Deirdre Scannell, Kate O’Loughlin, Eimear O’Sullivan, Paula O’Connor, Joy Neville.
Replacements: Natasha O’Keeffe, Denise Jennings, Aoife Mahony, Carol Murphy, Niamh Briggs, Sinead Fitzpatrick, Clara Bracken.
Coaches: Fiona Steed, Donal O’Driscoll
Managers: Kate McCarthy, Regina O’Reilly
LEINSTER Squad: Fiona Coghlan, Yvonne Nolan, Emer McManamly, Caroline McMahon, Louise Austin, Debbie Clarke, Sinead Ryan, Orla Brennan, Liz Comerford, Shannon Houston, Julie Doyle, Jackie Shields, Lynne Cantwell, Gail Doyle, Grace Davitt, Geri Healy, Julie Craig, Edel Farrell, Bernie Byrne, Orla Creedon, Ciara Kennedy, Lisa Morrissey, Sinead Delany.
Coaches: Ray Ward, Keith Murray
Manager: Tania Rosser