The Munster Women’s team has been named for their IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship clash with Connacht at Irish Independent Park on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).
A 16-3 away win over Ulster at Kingspan Stadium gave Munster the perfect start to their Interpro title defence last weekend. Leah Lyons and Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird touched down with Ellen Murphy and Edel Murphy kicking a penalty each in a hard-fought victory.
Head coach Wayne Falvey has made two changes to the side that beat Ulster. Edel Murphy starts at full-back and Ireland international Fiona Hayes, who featured in the November Series, comes in at loosehead prop. Siobhan Fleming captains the province once again from the back row.
Connacht will go into the game full of confidence, their 8-5 round 1 triumph over Leinster in Tuam setting up tomorrow afternoon’s showdown in Cork perfectly.
Falvey is in his third season at the helm of the Munster Women’s team and has led the side to two Interprovincial titles. Another success on Saturday will keep his charges on track for a third Interpro crown but it will be a big challenge for the girls in red.
“The team are hugely looking forward to playing at Irish Independent Park,” said Falvey. “The last three years with our home games we have been down in Tralee and up in Thomond Park, but it’s the first game for us in Cork.
“Connacht had a great result in Leinster so it just makes the game this weekend all the more important. We just really need to make sure that we are clinical and just build on our own performance in Ulster the last day, but it should be a cracker.
“Everything in terms of the timing of the game was based around ourselves and what suited us as a team. Because there is not much time between games, it was important for us to play all three games on a Saturday and optimise recovery.
“It was fantastic to win in Ulster last week. Any win on the road is great and especially for the first game to get us started, and we are looking forward to Connacht.”
MUNSTER WOMEN (v Connacht): Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians); Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (UL Bohemians), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), Nicola Scully (Highfield), Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians); Valerie Power (Shannon), Ellen Murphy (Highfield); Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians), Gill Bourke (UL Bohemians), Leah Lyons (Highfield), Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians), Orlaith Buckley (Highfield), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee) (capt), Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians), Heather O’Brien (Highfield).
Replacements: Zoe Grattage (Highfield), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Nuala O’Connor (Tralee), Ciara Griffin (Tralee), Christine Arthurs (Highfield), Mona Fehily (Highfield), Áine Staunton (UL Bohemians), Laura Sheehan (Highfield).
MUNSTER WOMEN – INTERPRO FIXTURES/RESULTS:
Saturday, December 3: Ulster Women 3 Munster Women 16, Kingspan Stadium
Saturday, December 10: Munster Women v Connacht Women, Irish Independent Park, 2.30pm
Saturday, December 17: Leinster Women v Munster Women, Donnybrook, 2.30pm