Head coach Tom Tierney has named the Ireland Women’s squad, sponsored by Aon, for the 2017 Women’s Six Nations Championship.
The selected squad includes five uncapped players – up front props Ilse van Staden (Cooke/Ulster) and Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht) will be hoping to win their first Ireland caps during the course of the Six Nations.
In the backs, scrum half Ailsa Hughes from Railway Union and Leinster, out-half Jemma Jackson from Cooke and Ulster and UL Bohemians and Munster winger Eimear Considine, who has been played for the Ireland Women’s Sevens team, are included.
Tickets for the Ireland Women’s home games at Donnybrook are available now on ticketmaster.ie.
Experienced full-back Niamh Briggs, who led Ireland to the Women’s Six Nations title in 2015, will again captain the side. For the first time since the inception of the tournament, all of Ireland’s games will be broadcast live on RTE.
Ireland will play Scotland in their first match of the Championship on Friday week at Broadwood Stadium in Glasgow. They will then travel to L’Aquila to face Italy on Sunday, February 12.
Their first home game will be against France at Donnybrook on Sunday, February 26. They will then take on Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, March 11 – the morning after the Ireland men play Wales at the Principality Stadium.
The Ireland Women will finish their Six Nations run at home to England on Friday, March 17, in what will be a double header at Donnybrook on St. Patrick’s Day, as the Ireland Under-20s will play their English counterparts before the Women’s game.
Speaking about selecting the squad for the 2017 Championship, Tom Tierney said: “It’s set to be a busy and exciting year for this team, and it all gets underway next Friday against Scotland.
“While we had some tough games in November, the experience the players gained in those matches will stand to them as we head into the Six Nations Championship.
“There is a good blend of youth and experience in the squad, and having had weekly camps since Christmas, we’ve been working hard getting our structures in place and making sure everyone knows their job.
“The fact that all of our games will be broadcast this season adds an additional element of excitement to the campaign so everyone is looking forward to it all getting underway.”
IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (2017 Women’s Six Nations Championship):
Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht)
Aine Donnelly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht)
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster) *
Jemma Jackson (Cooke/Ulster) *
Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls)
Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster)
Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Nichola Fryday (Tullamore/Connacht)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)
Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster)
Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht) *
Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht)
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Ilse van Staden (Cooke/Ulster) *
* Denotes uncapped player
IRELAND WOMEN’S Management –
Anthony Eddy – Director of Women’s Rugby
Tom Tierney – Head Coach
Declan O’Brien – Assistant Coach
Derek Dowling – Scrum Coach
Tanya Abbas-Curran – Team Manager
Ed Slattery – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Nathan Buckley – Video Analyst
Emma Gallivan – Physiotherapist
Alan Farrell – Team Doctor
Marcus Shortall – Nutritionist
Rory Wilson – Squad Co-ordinator
Sam O’Byrne – Media Officer
IRELAND WOMEN’S Six Nations Fixtures:
Friday, February 3
Scotland Women v Ireland Women, Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow, 6.35pm (live on RTE)
Sunday, February 12
Italy Women v Ireland Women, Stadio Tommaso Fattori, L’Aquila, 2pm local time/1pm Irish time (live on RTE)
Sunday, February 26
Ireland Women v France Women, Donnybrook Stadium, 12.45pm (live on RTE)
Saturday, March 11
Wales Women v Ireland Women, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, 11.30am (live on RTE)
Friday, March 17
Ireland Women v England Women, Donnybrook Stadium, 8pm (live on RTE/Sky Sports)