The Ireland squad for next month’s FIRA Women’s European Championship has been announced, with prop Fiona Coghlan to captain the team in the injury-enforced absence of Sarahjane Belton.
Coach Simon Broughton, who takes the reigns for the competition on a temporary basis following the recent departure of John O’Sullivan, has named a familiar looking Ireland squad.
There are two vacancies in the squad – those two remaining places will be filled after a final training session this coming weekend.
Ireland will play three games in the ten-day FIRA European Championship, which is being held in Amsterdam next month, and the squad will be led Leinster prop Fiona Coghlan.
Coghlan steps into the captaincy role in place of Sarahjane Belton who, after 60 consecutive caps (26 of those at captain), has been forced to pull out of the squad due to an ongoing back injury.
Belton will be a big loss to the squad especially after she impressed again in the recent Six Nations tournament and Ireland manager Rachel Reid said that she was hopeful that the star full-back would make a full recovery.
“Sarahjane has had an impeccable record for the team and her experience and leadership will be sorely missed,” Reid said.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her immense contribution to the team since her debut at the European Championship in May 2000 and wish her a full recovery from injury over the coming months, so that she may return to represent Ireland again in the future.”
Ireland will fly out to take part in the eight-team competition on May 16 to prepare for their opening game against Spain. They will return on May 25.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SQUAD (2008 FIRA European Championship, Amsterdam, May 17-24):
Forwards (15) –
Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians)
Debbie Clarke (Blackrock)
Eimear O’Sullivan (Highfield)
Emer McManamly (Blackrock)
Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians) (capt)
Germaine Healy (Blackrock)
Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians)
Jess Limbert (Cooke)
Joy Neville (UL Bohemians)
Kate O’Loughlin (Clonmel)
Louise Austin (Blackrock)
Marie Barrett (Highfield)
Orla Brennan (Blackrock)
Sinead Ryan (Blackrock)
Backs (11) –
Amy Davis (Cooke)
Grace Davitt (Blackrock)
Helen Brosnan (Highfield)
Jeanette Feighery (UL Bohemians)
Jo O’Sullivan (Richmond)
Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians)
Lynne Cantwell (UL Bohemians)
Niamh Briggs (Clonmel)
Shannon Houston (Blackrock)
Tania Rosser (Blackrock)
Fixtures – Pool A –
Saturday, May 17, 2008: Quarter-Final: Ireland v Spain, Amsterdam
Tuesday, May 20, 2008: Semi-Final: England or Sweden v Ireland or Spain, Drachten
Saturday, May 24, 2008: Play-Offs and Final, Amsterdam