Connacht Women’s head coach Jarleth Naughton has made four changes to the team for Sunday’s IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship showdown with Leinster at the Sportsground (kick-off 3pm).
Sunday afternoon will see an exciting Women’s Interpro double header take place at the Sportsground where the Connacht Under-18s host their Munster counterparts at 1pm, and the main event has the Connacht and Leinster seniors clashing at 3pm.
With regular captain Grainne Egan sidelined this week, Galwegians prop Laura Feely will lead the home side from the front row. Tullamore’s Moya Griffin slots in at hooker after impressing as a replacement during Connacht’s 24-7 loss to Munster in Cork.
Galwegians lock Denise Redmond is also promoted from the bench to link up with her club-mate Amelie Roux in the second row, while NUIG’s Tara Buggie slots in at blindside flanker with Ireland international Edel McMahon switching across to the openside berth vacated by Egan.
The fourth and final personnel change sees international squad member Mairead Coyne return to the full-back position, with Tullamore’s Jill Draper moving to the right wing in a rejigged back-three. Connacht lost 17-8 to Leinster at Donnybrook last season with Coyne scoring a first half try and Hilary Griffin, a replacement this weekend, kicking a penalty.
Speaking ahead of the rematch in Galway, Connacht Women’s forwards coach Jason East said: “We’re really focused on ourselves and looking to right the wrongs from last weekend. We felt we left not so much the game behind us but we could have changed the outcome a little bit more.
“This week is just about getting those little individual and team errors out of the way and just getting ready for a big performance to try and put us back in the mix. Munster won the interpros last year from the same position that we’re in now, or close to it. We beat them first up last year.
“We’re definitely building. We’re looking to get a big performance out this weekend and put ourselves right back in the mix (for the title). If we can do that then we’ll be heading into the final weekend with everything to play for.”
CONNACHT WOMEN (v Leinster Women): Mairead Coyne (Galwegians); Jill Draper (Tullamore), Catherine Martin (Suttonians), Shannon Touhey (Galwegians), Orla Dixon (NUIG); Nicole Fowley (Galwegians), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Laura Feely (Galwegians) (capt), Moya Griffin (Tullamore), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Castlebar), Denise Redmond (Galwegians), Amelie Roux (Galwegians), Tara Buggie (NUIG), Edel McMahon (Galwegians), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians).
Replacements: Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Elizabeth McNicholas (Tuam), Julia Bauer (Suttonians), Nicola Caldbeck (Tullow), Clodagh Dunne (Old Belvedere), Hilary Griffin (Tullow), Jane O’Neill (Old Belvedere), Rachel Healy (Railway Union).
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