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Hayes And Pearse To Lead Munster Women For Interpro Title Defence

Hayes And Pearse To Lead Munster Women For Interpro Title Defence

Munster Women’s head coach Laura Guest has named her team to play Connacht in the first round of the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship at Irish Independent Park on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).

Irish Rugby TV: Munster v Connacht Women’s Interpros Preview

Prop Fiona Hayes and back rower Chloe Pearse are the province’s co-captains this season with a mix of experience and youth included in the squad. Ciara Griffin is named at openside flanker with one of her predecessors as Ireland captain, Niamh Briggs, pairing up with Niamh Kavanagh in the centre.

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There are several new faces, including Ireland Under-18 Sevens international Enya Breen at full-back and replacement Christine Coffey, who have both come through the Munster Rugby Talent Identification Programme and are stepping up to the senior grade.

While there are some notable absentees from last year’s title-winning squad, including then-skipper Siobhan Fleming, Munster Women’s Player of the Year Gillian Bourke, Harlequins recruit Leah Lyons and scrum half Ellen Murphy who has switched to Leinster, Guest welcomes back Eimear Considine from a year out travelling, and it is also encouraging to see clubs like Bantry Bay, Ballincollig, Richmond and Thurles gain representation across the squad.

“Our primary goal is to retain the Interprovincial title, but that task gets more difficult each season,” admitted Guest, who is in her second year as Munster head coach. “There are no easy games at this level and for now every bit of our focus is on playing Connacht on Saturday at Irish Independent Park.”

Munster’s Interprovincial opener on Saturday is part of a double header in Cork with the Munster Under-18 Women, who play their Leinster counterparts at the same venue (kick-off 12.30pm). Guest added: “We hope there will be a big Munster crowd there on the day, who can enjoy the double-header of Munster U-18s and ourselves.”

It is the Munster Women’s only home game of the campaign, with trips to Portadown RFC and Donnybrook’s Energia Park to follow over the next two weekends. Tickets for Munster v Connacht at Irish Independent Park on Saturday are €;5 for adults and €;3 for OAPs and students, while Under-18s go free.

MUNSTER WOMEN (v Connacht Women): Enya Breen (Bantry Bay); Laura O’Mahony (UL Bohemians), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians), Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians); Rachel Allen-Connolly (UL Bohemians), Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians); Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians) (co-capt), Kate Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig), Siobhan McCarthy (Railway Union), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians), Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians) (co-capt).

Replacements: Orla Curtin (Shannon), Andrea Stock (Bantry Bay), Clodagh Cronin (Durham University), Clodagh O’Halloran (UL Bohemians), Sarah Quin (Richmond), Christine Coffey (Thurles), Ciara Scanlan (St. Mary’s), Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians).


Saturday, September 1 –

MUNSTER WOMEN v CONNACHT WOMEN, Irish Independent Park, Cork, 2.30pm

Sunday, September 9 –

ULSTER WOMEN v MUNSTER WOMEN, Chambers Park, Portadown RFC, 1pm

Saturday, September 15 –

LEINSTER WOMEN v MUNSTER WOMEN, Energia Park, Donnybrook, 7.30pm