An Ireland Women’s squad of 25 players has been named for the forthcoming Women’s RBS 6 Nations Championship. Ireland head coach Philip Doyle has included a number of seasoned internationals alongside some new faces who have emerged this season.
Fiona Coghlan will again captain the team and she is joined in the Championship squad by the vastly experienced Lynne Cantwell.
Ulster prop Lauren Day, who missed out on the World Cup last year when she picked up a late injury, is back in the panel.
Seasoned internationals such as Orla Brennan and Joanne O’Sullivan have retired and there are some new faces coming into the squad on the back of impressive performances in the Women’s All-Ireland League and Interprovincial Championship.
Experienced scrum half Tania Rosser is still recovering from the injury she picked up at the Women’s World Cup, but it is hoped that she will play a part in the latter stages of the competition.
Commenting on the selection, head coach Philip Doyle said: “The dedication of the players has been excellent, both in their individual attention and motivation and as a squad.
“We recognise the potential of the squad while respecting the challenges ahead, the first of which is to start the Six Nations campaign against Italy away with a good performance.
“Being the first game of the Championship means our concentration is to be as accurate as possible throughout the game.”
Ireland open their campaign against Italy in Rovigo, on Sunday February 6, and will again make Ashbourne RFC in Meath their home for the tournament.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (2011 RBS 6 Nations Championship):
Gillian Bourke (Bristol/Munster)
Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile)
Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt)
Amy Davis (Blackrock/Leinster)
Lauren Day (Waterloo/Ulster)
Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster) *
Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster)
Ashling Hutchings (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Stacey Kennedy (City of Derry/Ulster) *
Emer McManamly (Blackrock/Leinster)
Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
Larissa Muldoon (UWIC/Exile) *
Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Gill Nolan (St. Mary’s/Leinster) *
Deirdre O’Brien (Blackrock/Leinster) *
Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster) *
Geraldine Rea (Highfield/Munster) *
Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Leinster)
Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Carol Staunton (Galwegians/Connacht)
* Denotes uncapped Player
IRELAND WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES:
Sunday, February 6: Italy Women v Ireland Women, Rovigo, 2.30pm local time/1.30pm Irish time
Friday, February 11: Ireland Women v France Women, Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm
Saturday, February 26: Scotland Women v Ireland Women, Lasswade RFC, 2pm
Sunday, March 13: Wales Women v Ireland Women, Cross Keys RFC, 2.30pm
Friday, March 18: Ireland Women v England Women, Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm
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