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Ulster Women’s Side Selected For Leinster Clash

Ulster Women’s Side Selected For Leinster Clash

Ulster will field a team mixed with experienced internationals and emerging talent in Friday’s opening IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship encounter with Leinster at Blackrock College RFC (kick-off 7pm).

Irish Rugby TV: Leinster v Ulster Women’s Interpros Preview

Larissa Muldoon, a Grand Slam-winning scrum half with Ireland, showed her versatility in last year’s Interprovincial Championship by playing at out-half and full-back, and she will again don the number 15 jersey for Ulster’s first round trip to Stradbrook.

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Cooke duo Eliza Downey and Emma Jordan complete a potent back-three, with left winger Jordan earning plaudits for her form heading into the tournament, while the freshened-up centre pairing of Maeve Liston and Vicky Irwin will be looking to make a big impression.

Jemma Jackson and Kathryn Dane are tasked with directing operations from half-back, with the latter coming up against a number of her Old Belvedere club-mates tomorrow. Malone’s teenage hooker Neve Jones, Ulster’s Under-18 Interpro title-winning captain from 2016, continues to develop and show promise in between the experienced Ilse van Staden and Sorcha Mac Laimhin.

The additional presence of Lauren Maginnes, Beth Cregan and Claire McLaughlin in the pack takes the Cooke contingent in the starting XV to nine players. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how McLaughlin fares at openside having come to prominence as a centre with both Ulster and Ireland.

The Ulster squad, under the tutelage of Derek Suffern, are feeling confident following months of hard work and preparation both on and off the pitch. The 26-strong extended panel have been focusing on their strength and conditioning, working with Banbridge-based Paul Heasley at Knowledge Fitness once a week, in addition to four gym and cardio sessions and two on-pitch sessions with coaches Suffern, David Chambers and James McBriar.

The sheer growth of the Women’s game in the province can be seen on the bench where Suffern has selected players from seven different clubs, including City of Derry front rower Michelle Gormley-McLaughlin, Virginia’s Keelin Brady, who was vice-captain of the Ulster Under-18s last season, and Queen’s University out-half/winger Diane Ramsey.

ULSTER WOMEN (v Leinster Women): Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union) (capt); Eliza Downey (Cooke), Maeve Liston (Ballyshannon), Vicky Irwin (Cooke), Emma Jordan (Cooke); Jemma Jackson (Cooke), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere); Ilse van Staden (Cooke), Neve Jones (Malone), Sorcha Mac Laimhin (Cooke), Rebecca Lawlor (Malone), Lauren Maginnes (Cooke), Beth Cregan (Cooke), Claire McLaughlin (Cooke), Bethany McDowell (Malone).

Replacements: Michelle Gormley-McLaughlin (City of Derry), Aishling O’Connell (Cavan), Shannon Heapes (Cooke), Keelin Brady (Virginia), Kathryn Hanna (Ballynahinch), Peita McAlister (Malone), Diane Ramsey (Queen’s University), Ella Durkan (Malone).


Friday, August 31 –

LEINSTER WOMEN v ULSTER WOMEN, Stradbrook, Blackrock College RFC, 7pm

Sunday, September 9 –

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

Saturday, September 15 –

CONNACHT WOMEN v ULSTER WOMEN, the Sportsground, Galway, 2.30pm