The Munster Women’s teams for both halves of Friday evening’s historic match against the Barbarians at Thomond Park (kick-off 4.45pm) have been announced.
A 30-player Munster squad has been named with a different XV to line out in each half for new head coach Laura Guest’s first game in charge. Her former provincial and international team-mate, flanker Siobhan Fleming, captains the province.
The Barbarians are fielding a Women’s team for the first time ever and have named a 23-strong squad with 1019 international caps between them as seven different nations will be represented.
Guest has named a side that combines a good mix of youth and experience – there are 10 Ireland internationals named and five of the squad have also represented the Ireland Sevens team.
A former Ireland international herself, Guest is looking forward to the landmark occasion> “The Barbarians have over a thousand caps between them so it’s going to be a challenge. I hope that the girls really enjoy it first and foremost because it’s a history-making opportunity and it’s something that might never come around again – the chance to play a Barbarians side at the home of Munster Rugby,” she said.
“Obviously when you play well you enjoy it even more, but it’s a great opportunity for all of us to be involved in. Credit must go to Amanda Greensmith (Munster Rugby Women’s Community Rugby Officer) for all her hard work in organising this fixture.”
With a number of All-Ireland League games scheduled for this weekend, Guest was delighted that the club sides allowed their players to be released for Friday’s match against the Baa Baas.
She explained: “We’ve gotten permission from the clubs to use their players and we’re very grateful for that. We’re mindful that they have games at the weekend so it allows us to play all 30 members of our squad and see how certain combinations match up.
“It is a great opportunity for the entire squad to be involved rather than just the traditional 23, it guarantees that all of our players will get 40 minutes and that’s something you can’t guarantee too often.”
The Women’s game is part of a unique double-header at Thomond Park as it will be followed by the men’s international between Barbarians and Tonga at 7.30pm. Tickets to both games are available here.
MUNSTER WOMEN (First Half v Barbarians): Laura O’Mahony (UL Bohemians/Ireland Sevens), Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians), Aine Staunton (UL Bohemians), Christine Arthurs (Highfield/Ireland Sevens), Syphonia Pua (UL Bohemians); Valerie Power (Shannon), Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Ireland/Ireland Sevens); Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Ireland), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Ireland), Nuala O’Connor (Tralee), Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians/Ireland), Dinah O’Mahony (Bandon), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Ireland) (capt), Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/Ireland/Ireland Sevens).
MUNSTER WOMEN (Second Half v Barbarians): Linda McNamara (Highfield); Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Ireland/Ireland Sevens), Rachel Allen (UL Bohemians), Tracy Collopy (Shannon); Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere), Helen McDermott (UL Bohemians); Leah Lyons (Highfield/Ireland), Zoe Grattage (Highfield/Ireland), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Ireland), Eileen Foley (Bandon), Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig), Clodagh O’Halloran (UL Bohemians), Siobhan McCarthy (Railway Union), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Ireland).