The Ireland Women’s Olympic Sevens squad to participate in the Atlanta Sevens event on February 15-16 – as part of the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series – has been named.
The selected squad includes three new players who have been identified as part of the IRFU’s on-going talent identification programme.
The programme, which is open to the wider athletic and team sport community, offers elite athletes the opportunity to join an Olympic programme in what is a new and exciting international female sport.
Ireland have been drawn in a strong group in Pool B alongside New Zealand, England and the Netherlands.
Aisling Naughton, Aoife Doyle, Elaine Ryan, Laura Lee Walsh, Megan Williams, Nicola Cronin and Susan Vaughan will travel to the USA to make their international Sevens debuts.
Head coach Jon Skurr said: “A lot of hard work has gone in to get us to this point so far. It’s a big year for Irish Women’s rugby, there’s a lot going on.
“One of our jobs is to extend the player base that we’ve got, so that we’ve got more people competing, which is why our talent identification process is so important.
“We’ve got a number of new caps going. It’s going to be tough, but I feel we’re really going to progress as the season goes on as these players develop their ability to play international rugby at the top level.”
Team captain Shannon Houston said: “It is so exciting and such a privilege to represent Ireland on the international stage. Taking part in the World Series is daunting but we know that by working together and working hard that we can take on anyone.”
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Atlanta Sevens, Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, February 15-16):
1. Aisling Naughton (Talent ID Programme)
2. Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Munster)
3. Christine Arthurs (Tralee/Connacht)
4. Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
5. Elaine Ryan (Talent ID Programme)
6. Laura O’Mahony (Tralee/Munster)
7. Laura Lee Walsh (Talent ID Programme)
8. Megan Williams (Saracens/Exiles)
9. Niamh Ni Dhroma (Buccaneers/Connacht)
10. Nicole Cronin (Shannon/Munster)
11. Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
12. Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster) (capt)
13. Siobhan Barrett (Tralee/Munster)
14. Susan Vaughan (Railway Union/Leinster)
Saturday, February 15 –
IRELAND v England, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, 2.50pm local time/7.50pm Irish time
IRELAND v New Zealand, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, 5.12pm local time/10.12pm Irish time
IRELAND v Netherlands, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, 7.56pm local time/12.56am Irish time
Sunday, February 16 –
Cup, Bowl and Plate competitions (12pm-7pm local time/5pm-12am Irish time)
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