The Connacht Women’s squad for the upcoming IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship has been confirmed by head coach Jarleth Naughton.
A squad of 33 has been announced ahead of the series which begins on Saturday, September 1 when the Connacht Women travel to Irish Independent Park in Cork to face defending champions Munster (kick-off 2.30pm).
Jarleth Naughton’s side, who finished third in last year’s tournament, then play two home games at the Sportsground – firstly against Leinster on Sunday, September 9 (kick-off 3pm), followed by the visit of Ulster to Galway in the final round on Saturday, September 15 (kick-off 2.30pm).
Commenting on the squad’s build-up to this season’s Interpros, the westerners’ team manager Mark ‘Barney’ Moran said: “Preparations for this year’s Interpro Championship have been going well. Like all years, we have lost some players from last season and also welcomed some exciting new ones.
“The players and coaches are working together extremely hard and it’s encouraging to see the standards improving every week. As a team, we are all looking forward to the series kicking off in September when we will be hoping for more great support.”
Connacht are back-boned by a number of Ireland internationals, including Ciara O’Connor and Edel McMahon who were try scorers in last December’s famous 19-15 win over Munster at the Sportsground. Versatile forward Nichola Fryday has joined her international colleagues at Galwegians following Tullamore’s relegation from the All-Ireland League.
Star winger Alison Miller, who is back running following her horrific ankle injury against Italy in February, is a notable absentee as she continues her rehabilitation programme, while there is a significant Suttonians contingent involved in the form of Aifric O’Brien, Catherine Martin, Julia Bauer and Lauren Retig. Ballygar native Grainne Egan, last year’s Connacht captain, is set for her eighth Interpro campaign and remains a key player and leader.
CONNACHT WOMEN’S Squad: Aifric O’Brien (Suttonians), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Castlebar/Galwegians), Amelie Roux (Galwegians), Catherine Martin (Suttonians), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Clodagh Dunne (Old Belvedere), Denise Redmond (Galwegians), Edel McMahon (Galwegians), Elizabeth McNicholas (Tuam), Ellen Taite (Mullingar), Grainne Egan (Railway Union), Hilary Griffin (Tullow), Jane O’Neill (Old Belvedere), Jill Draper (Tullamore), Julia Bauer (Suttonians), Laura Feely (Galwegians), Lauren Retig (Suttonians), Mairead Coyne (Galwegians), Mary Healy (Galwegians), Moya Griffin (Tullamore), Nicola Caldbeck (Tullow), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians), Orla Dixon (NUIG), Rachel Healy (Railway Union), Rachel O’Brien (UL Bohemians), Sarah-Jane Fox (Galwegians), Shannen Lane (Galwegians), Shannon Touhey (Galwegians), Tara Buggie (NUIG), Tracey Gannon (Galwegians), Ursula Sammon (Castlebar/Galwegians).
CONNACHT WOMEN’S Management Team –
Jarleth Naughton – Head Coach
Brian Murphy – Assistant Coach
Jason East – Assistant Coach
Barney Moran – Team Manager
Dan McCabe – Physio
2018/19 IRFU WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL FIXTURES:
Saturday, September 1 –
MUNSTER WOMEN v CONNACHT WOMEN, Irish Independent Park, Cork, 2.30pm
Sunday, September 9 –
CONNACHT WOMEN v LEINSTER WOMEN, the Sportsground, Galway, 3pm
Saturday, September 15 –
CONNACHT WOMEN v ULSTER WOMEN, the Sportsground, Galway, 2.30pm