The two teams that posted opening round wins – Leinster and Munster – meet in what could prove to be a title-deciding match in the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship on Saturday.
2014/15 IRFU WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP:
ROUND 2 – Saturday, September 13
LEINSTER WOMEN (2nd) v MUNSTER WOMEN (1st), Ashbourne RFC, 2pm
CONNACHT WOMEN (3rd) v ULSTER WOMEN (4th), the Sportsground, 3pm
Leinster got off to a fantastic start with a 15-8 win away to Connacht and now face a heavyweight clash with Munster at Ashbourne RFC.
Head coach Robert Forbes has made two personnel changes and one positional switch to a side that is missing most of the frontliners who secured the 2013 Championship with a 21-6 Thomond Park victory over Munster last December.
Blackrock’s Aoife Tyrrell, who was lined out at number 10 last weekend, makes the move to the right wing with Aine Donnelly from Cill Dara coming in to partner Ailsa Hughes (Tullamore) at half-back.
Women’s Rugby World Cup squad member Orla Fitzsimons makes her first start of the Interpros in the second row, with her Ireland team-mate Sharon Lynch featuring at number 8.
Meanwhile, Munster boss Wayne Falvey has made just one change to the team that claimed a 22-0 bonus point triumph over Ulster at Kingspan Stadium.
Gerda Coyne, who scored a debut try last Saturday, moves to the replacements bench with UL Bohemians’ Maeve Darcy taking her place in the second row.
Experienced number 8 Laura Guest continues as captain of the table toppers with last week’s other try-scoring debutant, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird from Highfield, keeping her place on the right wing.
LEINSTER WOMEN: Vikki McGinn (Blackrock College); Aoife Tyrrell (Blackrock College), Elise O’Byrne-White (Old Belvedere), Claire Ryan (Railway Union), Janice Daly (Old Belvedere); Aine Donnelly (Cill Dara), Ailsa Hughes (Tullamore); Ruth McElroy (Old Belvedere), Ann-Marie Rooney (St. Mary’s College) (capt), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere), Ciara Cooney (Tullow), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s College), Katie Norris (Blackrock College), Jennie Finlay (Navan), Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere).
Replacements: Joanna Mahon (County Carlow), Tanala Kehoe (Portlaoise), Aoife Maher (Railway Union), Niamh Fitzgerald (St. Mary’s College), Mairead Holohan (Clondalkin), Meg Parkinson (County Carlow), Amy O’Neill (Blackrock College), Kim Flood (Railway Union).
MUNSTER WOMEN: Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians); Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (Highfield), Ger Rea (Highfield), Nicola Scully (Highfield), Ashling Hutchings (UL Bohemians); Laura O’Mahony (Tralee), Mona Fehily (Highfield); Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians), Amy Desmond (Highfield), Leah Lyons (Fermoy), Maeve Darcy (UL Bohemians), Elaine Anthony (Highfield), Roisín Ormond (Highfield), Ciara Griffin (Tralee), Laura Guest ((Highfield) (capt).
Replacements: Kate Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Maura Collins (Abbeyfeale), Leah Barbour (UL Bohemians), Gerda Coyne (Highfield), Maria Eviston (UL Bohemians), Ayesha Roche (Tralee), Mollie O’Donnell (UL Bohemians), Amy O’Callaghan (Highfield).
Connacht will be hoping home advantage can help them prevail over Ulster, with Galwegians duo Mairead Coyne and Clare Rafferty drafted in at full-back and out-half respectively.
Head coach Luke O’Donnell has also decided to move Ireland Sevens international Niamh Ni Dhroma – the scorer of the westerners’ lone try against Leinster – into the centre where she partners Emma Clery from Galwegians.
Ruth O’Reilly captains the team as part of a settled front row, while Portlaoise lock Catriona Cassidy has been promoted from the bench. Marion Sheridan moves into the back row with Grainne Egan from St. Mary’s covering for the absent Christine Arthurs at number 8.
Ulster’s Jonathan Gillespie has made five changes to the starting line-up for the trip to Galway. Cooke flanker Beth Cregan will make her debut in the back row alongside Enniskillen’s Noreen Nethercot who is also brought into the side. Queen’s University hooker Janine Mullan is the only other change up front.
In the backs Stacey Sloan and Gemma McCutcheon form an all-new centre partnership outside the established half back pairing of Imogen Porter and Jemma Jackson.
Emma Jordan (left winger), Vicky Irwin (right winger) and Peita McAlister (full-back) all start in different positions from last week’s opener in Belfast.
CONNACHT WOMEN: Mairead Coyne (Galwegians); Jill Draper (Tullamore), Emma Clery (Galwegians), Niamh Ni Dhroma (Buccaneers), Emer O’Mahony (Tralee); Clare Rafferty (Galwegians), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Laura Feely (Galwegians), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians) (capt), Rita Breen (NUIG), Catriona Cassidy (Portlaoise), Marion Sheridan (Tuam/Galwegians), Heather Cary (Galwegians), Grainne Egan (St. Mary’s).
Replacements: Jean Moore (Portlaoise), Edel Durkin (Tuam), Edel McMahon (NUIG/Galwegians), Niamh Dempsey (Tralee), Lisa McDonagh (Galwegians), Nicole Fowley (Sligo), Jacqui Mulligan (Sligo).
ULSTER WOMEN: Peita McAlister (Queen’s University); Vicky Irwin (Ormskirk), Gemma McCutcheon (Queen’s University), Stacey Sloan (City of Derry), Emma Jordan (Queen’s University); Jemma Jackson (Queen’s University), Imogen Porter (Queen’s University); Ilse van Staden (Belfast Harlequins), Janine Mullan (Queen’s University), Nikita Armstrong (Cooke) (capt), Sorcha Chipperfield (Cooke), Lizzie Ballentine (Cooke), Noreen Nethercot (Enniskillen), Beth Creggan (Cooke), Lauren Maginnes (Queen’s University).
Replacements: Sabrina Higgins (Carrick), Lesley Megarity (Belfast Harlequins), Alanagh Chipperfield (Belfast Harlequins), Shirelle Wilson (Cooke), Laura Johnston (Cooke), Steffi Clarke (Queen’s University), Emma Rea (Cooke), Rebecca Smyth (Belfast Harlequins).