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Update To Ireland Women’s Team To Face Italy

Update To Ireland Women’s Team To Face Italy

There are two personnel changes and one positional switch to the Ireland Women’s team originally selected to play Italy in round 4 of the Women’s Six Nations at Energia Park on Saturday (kick-off 6.30pm).

The IRFU advise that Laura Sheehan and Leah Lyons will replace Eimear Considine and Laura Feely respectively.

This decision is a precaution following inconclusive outcomes of COVID-19 tests on one player and a resultant potential close contact with two other players, one of which is not in the matchday selection but is part of the wider squad.

The IRFU are assisting the three players, who remain well. They have not been in contact with any other team member.

UL Bohemians speedster Sheehan comes into the starting XV on the right wing, with versatile front rower Lyons from Harlequins joining the replacements. Lauren Delany, another of the IQ Rugby players, switches to full-back.

Sheehan is an additional change to the seven head coach Adam Griggs made to the team that lost to England last time out. There are also positional switches for captain Ciara Griffin, who reverts to number 8, and Sene Naoupu who fills the inside centre berth.

20-year-old Tipperary talent Dorothy Wall will make her first international start in a back row completed by Griffin and the returning Claire Molloy, who comes in for her 70th Ireland cap.

The lock positions are occupied by Nichola Fryday and Ciara Cooney, with Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, the newly-announced Irish Women’s 15s Player of the Year, and Linda Djougang combining in the front row for the four game in succession.

Former Sevens star Hannah Tyrrell makes her first start of the campaign, featuring at out-half alongside her Old Belvedere club-mate Kathryn Dane. Exciting youngsters Enya Breen and Beibhinn Parsons also slot back into the back-line.

Griggs says the entire squad are aware that they are part of a select group of people permitted to play competitive rugby at the moment.

“We’ve spoken about it,” said the head coach. “No one across Irish Rugby in the Women’s game is actually able to pull on a jersey and play right now and yet here we are already privileged to represent our country and be one of the only teams actually playing in these times.

“It’s not lost on us and we want to make sure that we perform really well and give everyone watching something to cheer about come the final whistle on Saturday.”

There is potential for Ireland debuts off the bench with uncapped forwards Neve Jones, Katie O’Dwyer and Brittany Hogan all earning their place in the matchday squad.

Lyons and Hannah O’Connor will provide the remaining cover for the pack, while Ailsa Hughes, Larissa Muldoon and Katie Fitzhenry will give Griggs further options in the back-line. Tyrrell, Hogan and Fitzhenry have all featured for Ireland in last season’s HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

Speaking about team selection, Griggs added: “I think the beauty of what we’ve got now is such a competitive wider squad and some of those selections weren’t as straight forward as you think. Some of those players who’ve missed out can take credit for how hard they’ve pushed these girls.”

IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Italy Women, 2020 Women’s Six Nations Championship Round 4, Energia Park, Saturday, October 24, kick-off 6.30pm)

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

15. Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby) 11
14. Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians/Munster) 3
13. Enya Breen (UL Bohemians/Munster) 7
12. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 37
11. Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College/Connacht) 7
10. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 16
9. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster) 9
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster) 30
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby) 22
3. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 8
4. Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/Connacht) 14
5. Ciara Cooney (Wasps/IQ Rugby) 21
6. Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/Munster) 3
7. Claire Molloy (Wasps/IQ Rugby) 69
8. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt) 32


16. Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster) *
17. Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/Leinster) *
18. Leah Lyons (Harlequins/IQ Rugby) 24
19. Brittany Hogan (DCU/Old Belvedere/Ulster) *
20. Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College/Leinster) 1
21. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster) 11
22. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/Leinster) 47
23. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College/Leinster) 13

* Denotes uncapped player