The top Women’s players in Leinster and Munster will take to the Donnybrook pitch on Saturday (kick-off 1pm) for the rescheduled IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship final.
After the disappointment of the postponement of this match due to the recent snow, both sets of players are very keen to get onto the pitch and battle it out for the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship trophy.
Leinster head coach Dan van Zyl said: “We are really looking forward to the game. We’re trying to channel everything in the right direction after what happened last year (the final called off due to bad weather) and the weather having an effect this year.”
The Munster girls are chasing their fifth Interprovincial title in a row. In their two wins to date – 22 -7 over Connacht at Musgrave Park and 34-0 over Ulster at Ravenhill – the reigning champions have shown that they mean business and that they will not give up their crown without a fight.
Coached by John O’Sullivan and Marie Barrett, Munster will expect a hard-fought contest and a highly competitive games this weekend as previous clashes between the provinces have always proved.
The Munster side will once again be led by UL Bohemians and Ireland star Joy Neville. Neville and eleven of her Munster colleagues will then venture to Ireland December training camp on Sunday in preparation for the fast-approaching RBS Women’s 6 Nations.
Leinster started their Interpro campaign with a 30-3 triumph over an improving Ulster outfit at Donnybrook, which showcased their talent both up front and in the back-line.
Leinster’s match against Connacht Women at a wet and very windy Sportsground was a different affair altogether. Connacht competed well in the harsh conditions and held Leinster to nil in the first half. Keeping their composure and working hard, van Zyl’s charges finished strongly for a 12- 0 victory.
He added: “Since we started at the end of September we have come a long way in the way we play and the way we believe in each other. We have two new caps this season.
“Taking previous results into consideration, we go into Saturday’s game as huge underdogs. It has been a real honour and pleasure to be part of such a committed squad and I hope they perform to their ability on the day as there will be no better way to finish off the campaign with a win.
“Leinster has won every Interpro title this season, through the grades, and I truly believe that the Women’s team will fly the flag high once again.”
Admission to Donnybrook is free on Saturday, so why not put the Christmas shopping on hold or combine this game with the ‘Fever in the Aviva’ and support your province’s leading Women’s players.
LEINSTER WOMEN: Gill Nolan (St. Mary’s College); Katie Fitzhenry (Wexford Wanderers), Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere), Michelle Ross (St. Mary’s College), Ciara Kennedy (Navan); Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College), Amy Davis (Blackrock); Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere), Sarah Crosby (Navan), Emer McManamly (Blackrock), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere), Rachel Vickers (Clondalkin), Sinead Ryan (Blackrock) (capt), Laura Haley (Old Belvedere), Deirdre O’Brien (Blackrock).
Replacements: Kerry Ann Craddock (Exile), Carmella Morey (Cill Dara), Orla Fitzsimmons (St. Mary’s College), Sheena Moore (Old Belvedere), Fionnuala Gleeson (Old Belvedere), Elisa Byrne (White Trinity), Tammy Breen (Blackrock).
MUNSTER WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (Clonmel); Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians), Geraldine Rea (Highfield), Sarah Jane Cody (UL Bohemians); Helen Brosnan (Highfield), Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians); Laura Guest (Highfield), Christine Fanning (Highfield), Gillian Bourke (Bristol), Heather O’Brien (Highfield), Karen Casey (Highfield), Louise Austin (Blackrock College), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians) (capt).
Replacements: Donna Hughes (Highfield), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Orlaith Buckley (Highfield), Helen Jones (Highfield), Clara Bracken (Clonmel), Olivia Stapleton (UL Bohemians), Nicola Scully (Clonmel).
Referee: Dan Wallace (IRFU)