As the Women’s All-Ireland League gets underway on Sunday, an exciting new campaign lies ahead and a big target for the province’s top players is the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship which will be take place before Christmas.
Leinster have announced a 28-strong squad for their defence of the Interpro title they won last September, breaking Munster’s five-year stranglehold on the Championship in the process.
Niall Neville and John Taylor have come on board as the Leinster Women’s head coach and team manager respectively, with Ireland lock Marie Louise Reilly selected as the province’s new captain.
Leinster’s home matches will be held this season at Ashbourne RFC, which is Ireland’s home ground during the Women’s Six Nations.
Reilly and her team-mates will take on the Exiles in a challenge match on November 23, before meeting Connacht away (December 1) and Ulster (December 8) and Munster (December 15), both at home, in the Interprovincial series.
The new management set-up at Leinster do not want to rest on their laurels. Taylor is hoping that they can ‘continue the success of last year and make improvements in the structures and supports for the players, enabling them to continue as Ireland’s premier women’s team’.
The new manager has been true to his word – Leinster will be basing their training in Westmanstown in Garda RFC and will also work in partnership with Crunch Fitness gym in Westmanstown.
The Leinster squad, under the guidance of their newly-appointed conditioning coach Ciaran Walsh, will be taking full advantage of the excellent facilities offered by Crunch Fitness three times per week.
The gym offers everything the players could possibly need to get themselves in top condition for the gruelling season ahead, and the sports hall and swimming hall will also be utilised by Reilly and her team-mates.
Walsh commented: “The standard of facilities here at Crunch Fitness is everything an elite level athlete expects to help them get into premium condition.”
Ireland Women’s captain Fiona Coghlan, a regular in the Leinster front row, is impressed by the partnership with Crunch Fitness, adding: “We are thrilled to be entering into what will be a terrific partnership with Crunch Fitness. The enthusiasm they have shown us is refreshing and the quality of the gym facilities here is top class.”
LEINSTER WOMEN’S Squad (2012/13 Season):
Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere)
Alana Lowe (Garda)
Amy Davis (Blackrock)
Anne Marie Rooney (St. Mary’s)
Aoife Ryan (Navan)
Carmela Morley (Blackrock)
Carol Murphy (Old Belvedere)
Claire Ryan (Railway Union)
Deirdre O’Brien (UL Bohemians)
Elise O’Byrne White (Old Belvedere)
Emer McManamly (Blackrock)
Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians)
Fionnuala Gleeson (Old Belvedere)
Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock)
Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere) (capt)
Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere)
Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s)
Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s)
Roisin O’Donnell (Old Belvedere)
Ruth McElroy (Old Belvedere)
Sarah-Jane Cody (UL Bohemians)
Shannon Houston (Blackrock)
Sharron Lynch (Garda)
Team Manager: John Taylor
Head Coach: Niall Neville
Assistant Coaches: Pieter Swanipoel and Colman Campbell
Conditioning Coach: Ciaran Walsh
Assistant Manager: Grainne Carroll
Head Physiotherapist: Eimear Fallon
Media Officer: Alan Donnelly
Video Analyst: Tom O’Brien