Connacht Women’s head coach John-Paul Walsh has made three personnel changes to his team for Saturday’s final round encounter with Ulster at Corinthians RFC (kick-off 2pm).
Lying a point behind second-placed Leinster and three behind table toppers Munster, the Connacht Women still have a mathematical chance of claiming the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial title this weekend.
They would need a high scoring bonus point win and the result in Dublin to go their way but the title could still head West.
Targeting a bonus point win at home to Ulster, the westerners have brought prolific Ireland international Alison Miller in on the left wing after her second half appearance in the 12-8 defeat to Munster.
Miller was released for a 72nd minute try in Cork – only Connacht’s second of the tournament – and they will be hoping to be much more clinical in attack against their northern counterparts whom they defeated 15-12 at Portadown RFC in last year’s corresponding fixture.
UL Bohemians’ Valerie Mitchell gets the nod in the second row, with Marion Sheridan making way, while recent Ireland new cap Nichola Fryday returns at number 8 after her late withdrawal from the starting line-up last Saturday. Experienced St. Mary’s forward Carol Staunton moves to blindside flanker.
CONNACHT WOMEN (v Ulster): Mairead Coyne (Galwegians); Orla Dixon (NUIG), Shannon Touhey (Tullamore), Emma Clery (Galwegians) (capt), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere); Clare Raftery (Galwegians), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Laura Feely (Galwegians), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Castlebar), Amelie Roux (Galwegians), Valerie Mitchell (UL Bohemians), Carol Staunton (St. Mary’s), Grainne Egan (St. Mary’s), Nichola Fryday (Tullamore).
Replacements: Eimear Murphy (Carlow IT), Tara Buggie (NUIG), Marion Sheridan (Tuam), Heather Cary (Galwegians), Shannen Lane (NUIG), Jill Draper (Tullamore), Sarah Jane Fox (Galwegians), Ursula Sammon (Galwegians).
CONNACHT WOMEN – INTERPRO FIXTURES/RESULTS:
Saturday, December 3: Connacht Women 8 Leinster Women 5, Tuam RFC
Saturday, December 10: Munster Women 12 Connacht Women 8, Irish Independent Park
Saturday, December 17: Connacht Women v Ulster Women, Galway Corinthians RFC, 2pm