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Healy Starts For Connacht Women, Miller On The Bench

Healy Starts For Connacht Women, Miller On The Bench

Following on from last weekend’s impressive home win over Leinster, there are a couple more Ireland internationals integrated into the Connacht squad for their IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship showdown with Munster at Irish Independent Park on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).

Nippy scrum half Mary Healy, who made one start and two appearances off the bench for Ireland last month, is restored to Connacht’s starting line-up for the round 2 trip to the defending champions.

Healy rejoins her Galwegians club-mate Clare Raftery at half-back, with Tullamore’s Jill Draper moving to the left wing and Ursula Sammon, one of ten ‘Wegians players in the selected squad, dropping to the bench.

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The westerners have additional firepower among their replacements this week with prolific winger Alison Miller back from Ireland Sevens duty in Dubai and Sligo native Nicole Fowley, who debuted for Ireland in the November Series, another player who could make a big impact in Cork.

Fielding five new caps in the team, Connacht opened this season’s Interpros with a well-earned 8-5 victory over Leinster in Tuam, high-fielding full-back Mairead Coyne’s first half try and a 62nd minute penalty from Raftery seeing them prevail in tough conditions.

Head coach John-Paul Walsh reflected: “Everyone knew what was required as far as accuracy went, and mistakes were fixed and forgiven. Nothing turned to custard.

“The newbies really stood up, Anne-Marie O’Hora, a lock turned prop, and Amelie (Roux) were just so safe in contact, and when you have carriers who draw multiple defenders and still guarantee you clean ball in contact, it at least means you’ve a solid platform to build on again with numbers to play with.”

The Connacht girls have really put it up to Munster in recent seasons – they lost 9-7 in 2014 and 8-3 last year – and Saturday’s match could have a big bearing on the destination of this year’s title.

CONNACHT WOMEN (v Munster): Mairead Coyne (Galwegians); Orla Dixon (NUIG), Shannon Touhey (Tullamore), Emma Clery (Galwegians) (capt), Jill Draper (Tullamore); Clare Raftery (Galwegians), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Laura Feely (Galwegians), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Castlebar), Amelie Roux (Galwegians), Marion Sheridan (Tuam), Heather Cary (Galwegians), Grainne Egan (St. Mary’s), Nichola Fryday (Tullamore).

Replacements: Eimear Murphy (Carlow IT), Valerie Mitchell (UL Bohemians), Tara Buggie (NUIG), Carol Staunton (St. Mary’s), Shannen Lane (NUIG), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere), Ursula Sammon (Galwegians).


Saturday, December 3: Connacht Women 8 Leinster Women 5, Tuam RFC
Saturday, December 10: Munster Women v Connacht Women, Irish Independent Park, 2.30pm
Saturday, December 17: Connacht Women v Ulster Women, Galway Corinthians RFC, 2pm

IRFU Women’s Interpros Fixtures/Results/Table