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Naughton Names Connacht Team For Women’s Interpro Opener

Naughton Names Connacht Team For Women’s Interpro Opener

Captain Grainne Egan will lead a tried and trusted pack when Connacht collide with Munster in the opening 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

Head coach Jarleth Naughton will field the same starting pack from last December’s famous 19-15 victory over Munster at the Sportsground, as Connacht look to overcome the defending champions ahead of back-to-back home games in Galway.

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Railway Union flanker Grainne Egan, who is set for her eighth Interprovincial campaign, captains the side from the back row alongside Edel McMahon and Nichola Fryday, two members of Ireland’s 2018 Women’s Six Nations squad.

Tullow’s Nicola Caldbeck partners Amelie Roux, a try scorer against Munster last year, in the engine room, while vice-captain Laura Feely combines again with her Galwegians colleagues Ciara O’Connor and Anne-Marie O’Hora in a powerful front row unit.

Sligo native Nicole Fowley makes a welcome return at out-half after a long-term injury absence. She crossed for a try in the westerners’ 24-17 warm-up win over Ulster at Hamilton Park, and the Fowley-Mary Healy half-back pairing will aim to get the best out of a back-line that includes Suttonians’ Catherine Martin at centre and Rachel Healy of Railway Union on the right wing.

Ireland international Mairead Coyne is poised to make an impact as a replacement, with Connacht’s bench options also including promising young forwards Moya Griffin, Elizabeth McNicholas and Tara Buggie, who captained NUIG to a trio of All-Ireland and provincial titles in 2017.

CONNACHT WOMEN (v Munster Women): Jill Draper (Tullamore); Rachel Healy (Railway Union), Catherine Martin (Suttonians), Shannon Touhey (Galwegians), Orla Dixon (NUIG); Nicole Fowley (Galwegians), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Laura Feely (Galwegians), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Castlebar/Galwegians), Nicola Caldbeck (Tullow), Amelie Roux (Galwegians), Edel McMahon (Galwegians), Grainne Egan (Railway Union) (capt), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians).

Replacements: Moya Griffin (Tullamore), Elizabeth McNicholas (Tuam), Julia Bauer (Suttonians), Denise Redmond (Galwegians), Tara Buggie (NUIG), Shannen Lane (Galwegians), Hilary Griffin (Tullow), Mairead Coyne (Galwegians).


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