Ireland begin the defence of their Women’s RBS 6 Nations title in Ashbourne on Friday night. The team for the opening game, which will be streamed live on IrishRugby.ie. contains one new cap with Hannah Casey of Saracens and Exiles included.
Hannah Casey is set to make her Ireland debut against Scotland as the girls in green open their Championship title defence against Scotland at Ashbourne RFC.
There is a familiar feel to the selection to face the Scots with players such as captain Fiona Coghlan, Nora Stapleton, Alison Miller and Lynne Cantwell all set to start.
Niamh Briggs, one of the heroes of last year’s Grand Slam campaign, is on the replacements bench.
There are three uncapped players named in the matchday squad – Casey starts on the right wing, while fellow Saracen Kerrie-Ann Craddock and Orla Fitzsimons from St. Mary’s are on the bench.
Ireland Women’s head coach Philip Doyle commented: “We had a good win against the Scots last year but we will need to put in a similar performance this time round to we get a positive result.
“It is great to be starting off the campaign in Ashbourne and hopefully we can deliver a strong performance.”
The Ireland Women’s team will play their first ever fixture at the Aviva Stadium when Italy come to play on Saturday, March 8.
The Ireland v Italy Women’s game will kick off approximately 40 minutes after Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations clash with the Azzurri has concluded.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Scotland Women, 2014 Women’s RBS 6 Nations Championship, Ashbourne RFC, Friday, January 31, kick-off 7.30pm):
15. Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile) 8
14. Hannah Casey (Saracens/Exile) *
13. Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile) 78
12. Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 8
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise/UCC/Connacht) 14
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 18
9. Amy Davis (Blackrock/Ulster) 30
1. Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) 74 (capt)
2. Stacey-Lea Kennedy (Cooke/Ulster) 9
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 12
4. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 10
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 25
6. Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster) 10
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht) 26
8. Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster) 9
16. Gill Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster) 36
17. Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster) 2
18. Kerrie-Ann Craddock (Saracens/Exile) *
19. Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster) *
20. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster) 4
21. Larissa Muldoon (Bristol/Exile) 15
22. Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster) 47
23. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) 36
* Denotes uncapped player
IRELAND WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS FIXTURES:
IRELAND WOMEN v Scotland Women
Asbourne RFC, 7.30pm
Friday, January 31
IRELAND WOMEN v Wales Women
Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm
Friday, February 7
England Women v IRELAND WOMEN
Saturday, February 22
IRELAND WOMEN v Italy Women
Aviva Stadium, 5pm
Saturday, March 8
France Women v IRELAND WOMEN
Stade du Hameau, Pau, 6.45pm local time/5.45pm Irish time
Friday, March 14