There are three changes to the Ireland Under-18 Women’s Sevens squad for this weekend’s final leg of the inaugural U-18 Home Nations Sevens Series at the University of Birmingham.
Clogher Valley and Ulster’s Katie Hetherington and Leinster duo Saoirse O’Reilly and Meadbh Scally, who play their club rugby with Wicklow and Mullingar respectively, are the new additions to the squad coached by Adam Griggs and managed by former international Elaine Ryan.
O’Reilly played her part in Ireland’s historic bronze medal-winning campaign at April’s European Championship in Vichy, scoring tries against Latvia and Andorra, and also the maiden UK School Games title success. Hetherington and Scally both have Interprovincial experience from this past season.
Griggs’ charges are aiming to maintain their winning form from the opening Home Nations leg which they won impressive fashion, defeating England 19-10 in the final in Edinburgh two weeks ago. They embarked on a five-match winning run with Ballinasloe’s Beibhinn Parsons top-scoring with six tries, closely followed by captain Anna Doyle with five.
“We were really happy with the results last in Edinburgh and there were some very good performances from the players,” said Griggs, the Ireland Women’s 15s head coach who joined the IRFU High Performance Unit Women’s programme in April.
“We’ve made a couple of changes this week for Birmingham to give more provincial players the opportunity to gain experience and show what they can do at an international level, which is really important for their own personal development at this age group.
“The players are confident from the weekend in Edinburgh, but know it’s another big task to back up those performances. We’ll be hoping they can show their quality and skills once again to keep those improvements coming.”
Day one on Saturday, which kicks off with Ireland playing Wales at 10am, is played in a round robin format, and the knockout matches will follow on Sunday to determine the final placings. The tournament at the University of Birmingham is free for supporters to attend, with catering also available. The games run from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and from 10am until 1pm on Sunday.
IRELAND UNDER-18 WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Under-18 Home Nations Sevens Tournament – Round 2, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, Saturday, July 21-Sunday, July 22):
Maggie Boylan (Carrick-On-Suir RFC/Munster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore RFC/Leinster)
Meabh Deely (Ballinasloe RFC/Connacht)
Anna Doyle (Tullow RFC/Leinster) (capt)
Molly Fitzgerald (Navan RFC/Leinster)
Katie Hetherington (Clogher Valley RFC/Ulster)
Lucinda Kinghan (Monaghan RFC/Ulster)
Saoirse O’Reilly (Wicklow RFC/Leinster)
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe RFC/Connacht)
Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe RFC/Connacht)
Meadbh Scally (Mullingar RFC/Leinster)
Dorothy Wall (Fethard RFC/Munster)
UNDER-18 HOME NATIONS SEVENS – ROUND 2 FIXTURES:
Saturday, July 21 –
Ireland v Wales, 10am
England v Scotland, 10.22am
Scotland v Wales, 12pm
England v Ireland, 12.22pm
England v Wales, 3pm
Ireland v Scotland, 3.22pm
Sunday, July 22 –
Semi-Final 1: 3rd-Placed Team v 2nd-Placed Team, 10am
Semi-Final 2: 1st-Placed Team v 4th-Placed Team, 10.22am
3rd-4th Place Play-Off, 12pm