IRFU Director of Sevens Rugby, Anthony Eddy, has named the Ireland Women’s Sevens squad to compete at the first stage of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai on December 1-2.
The side will be captained by Rathdrum’s Lucy Mulhall and alongside her in the backs will be Shannon duo Aoife Doyle and Nicole Cronin, Railway Union’s Stacey Flood and Amee-Leigh Crowe and Old Belvedere pair Alison Miller and Hannah Tyrrell.
In the forwards, Railway Union’s Emma Murphy is set to win her first full Sevens cap in Dubai. She is joined up front by Ashleigh Baxter, Katie Fitzhenry, Kim Flood and Megan Williams.
Ireland have been drawn into a tough pool, with Olympic silver medallists and 2015/16 Women’s Sevens Series runners-up New Zealand, European rivals France and the skillful Fiji.
Speaking about the tournament, Anthony Eddy said: “First of all it’s great to be back on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series this season, having claimed our place at the repechage in UCD during the summer. Re-claiming our place is really important to the continued development of the Women’s Sevens programme here in Ireland.
“We’re in possibly the toughest group in Dubai, with New Zealand, France and Fiji, however the players have had a very positive pre-season. They have worked hard in the gym and on the training pitch and we had some challenge games with the French and English, so now the team are looking forward to getting the series underway and are looking into putting in a good performance in Dubai.”
Meanwhile, an Irish Women’s Development squad will also compete in Dubai in the Women’s International Invitational tournament.
In the Development side are Claire Keohane and Elaine Ryan who both have Women’s Sevens Series experience. Chloe Blackmore and Katie Heffernan both won their first senior Sevens caps last season at the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens Series.
Ireland centre Nicole Fowley, who made her 15s debut recently against England, is included in the Dubai-bound squad, as are former Ireland Under-18 Sevens players Claire Boles, Mairead Hopkins and Anna McGann. Current U-18 player Eve Higgins is also included as are Jackie Kinch and the UK based Annette Tomas.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2016/17 HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Thursday, December 1-Friday, December 2):
Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Nicole Cronin (Shannon/Munster)
Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster) (capt)
Emma Murphy (Railway Union/Leinster)
Amee-Leigh Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Megan Williams (Ireland Sevens Programme)
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS FIXTURES – DUBAI 7s:
Thursday, December 1 –
Ireland v New Zealand, 1.06pm local time/ 9.06am Irish time
Ireland v France, 3.40pm local time/11.40pm Irish time
Ireland v Fiji, 6.20pm local time/2.20pm Irish time
Friday, December 2 –
Anthony Eddy – IRFU Director of Sevens
Gillian McDarby – Team Manager
Marian Earls – S&C Coach
Lorcan McGee – Physiotherapist
Alan Walsh – Performance Analyst
Alan Farrell – Team Doctor
Sam O’Byrne – Media & Communications
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS DEVELOPMENT Squad (2016/17 DUBAI 7s WOMEN’S SEVENS INTERNATIONAL INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Thursday, December 1-Friday, December 2):
Chloe Blackmore (St. Mary’s/Munster)
Claire Boles (Enniskillen/Ulster)
Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Leinster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Unions/Leinster)
Mairead Hopkins (Castlebar/Connacht)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Jackie Kinch (Ireland Sevens Programme)
Anna McGann (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Elaine Ryan (Railway Union)
Annette Tomas (Reading Abbey Ladies)
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS DEVELOPMENT FIXTURES – DUBAI 7s:
Thursday, December 1 –
Ireland Development v Belgium 7s, 10.20am local time/6.20am Irish time
Ireland Development v Poland 7s, 12.40pm local time/8.40am Irish time
Ireland Development v Tribe 7s, 2.42pm local time/10.42am Irish time
Ireland Development v Kenya Lionesses, 6.40pm local time/2.40pm Irish time
Friday, December 2 –
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT –
Peter O’Donnell – Coach
Camel O’Dwyer – Team Manager
Cillian Reardon – S&C Coach
Orla Armstrong – Physiotherapist