IRFU Director of Sevens and Women’s Rugby, Anthony Eddy, has today named the Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens Development squads for this week’s Dubai Invitational Tournament.
Two 12-player squads arrived in Dubai on Tuesday ahead of three days of tournament action at The Sevens Stadium, joining the Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams, who are finalising their preparations for the second leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season this weekend.
Coached by former Ireland international Kevin Maggs, the Ireland Men’s Development squad includes Ireland Under-20 players Josh O’Connor and Chay Mullins, while Munster winger Conor Phillips and Sean Kearns, who featured for Ireland at World Series tournaments in Canada in September, are also named.
Ireland Men will open their campaign against Georgia on Thursday (2.20pm local time/10.20am Irish time).
Three players who were involved in Ireland’s recent Autumn Test win over Japan at the RDS have been selected for Ireland Women, with this tournament providing young players in the wider Sevens squad with an invaluable exposure to high-level competition.
Enya Breen, Maeve Og O’Leary and Ella Roberts are part of Katie Fitzhenry‘s squad for the tournament, with the likes of Vicky Elms Kinlan, Aoife Wafer and Katie Whelan all hoping to impress having been standout performers for Leinster in the U18 Inter-Provincial Championships.
Ireland Women face CSKA first up on Thursday (2.40pm local time/10.40am Irish time), before further Pool clashes against Russia and Belgium later in the day.
“This is traditionally a very tough tournament. It is a great opportunity to expose players to this level of competition, playing against several national teams or invitational teams made up with some of the best Sevens players in the world,” Eddy said.
“Katie and Kevin have done a great job in preparing the teams and I am sure they will be very competitive. This tournament provides a great opportunity for players to show their talents and put their case forward for selection in World Series events early next year.”
Ireland Men’s Development Squad
Fergus Jemphrey (Blackheath RFC/IQ Rugby)
Matthew McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Josh O’Connor (UCD RFC/Connacht)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne RFC)
Shane Mallon (UCD RFC)
Tamilore Awonusi (IQ Rugby)
Steven Kilgallen (UCD RFC)
Sean Kearns (Ireland Sevens)
Conor Hickey (IQ Rugby)
Chay Mullins (Bristol Bears/IQ Rugby)
Finn McNulty (Frome RFC/IQ Rugby)
Conor Philips (Young Munster/Munster).
Ireland Women’s Development Squad
Enya Breen (UL Bohemians)
Maeve Liston (Blackrock College RFC)
Maeve Og O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC)
Storm Cobain (Saracens/IQ Rugby)
Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College RFC)
Soneva Scott (IQ Rugby)
Katie Whelan (Old Belvedere RFC)
Méabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC)
Ella Roberts (Wicklow RFC)
Vicky Elms Kinlan (Wicklow RFC)
Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC)
Grace Moore (Railway Union RFC/IQ Rugby).