Haney And O’Connor To Captain Leinster Women
Christy Haney and Hannah O’Connor, who both enjoyed Energia All-Ireland League title glory with Blackrock College before Christmas, will co-captain the Leinster Women this season.
It has been a long build-up for Tania Rosser who was appointed as Leinster head coach back in December 2021, taking over from Phil de Barra who coached the team to a runners-up finish the previous September.
Rosser’s charges host Connacht in their Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship opener on Saturday, with a 2.30pm kick-off at Energia Park. Tickets are available here and there is free entry for Leinster Rugby Season Ticket holders.
Six players from All-Ireland League champions Blackrock are involved, while there are nine representatives from beaten finalists Railway Union, and a dozen from Old Belvedere, including Rosser’s 2013 Grand Slam-winning team-mate, Jenny Murphy.
The 31-strong Leinster squad also features the likes of Dannah O’Brien, Emma Tilly, Aoife Dalton and Jess Keating, who are all set for their senior debuts in blue having won their first Ireland caps in Japan back in August.
They are following in the footsteps of Wicklow flyer Ella Roberts, who had an impressive breakthrough year at this level in 2021 and recently helped her club to become Conference champions.
Like the co-captains and Murphy, Ailsa Hughes, Aoife McDermott and Elaine Anthony will bring plenty of experience, with Old Belvedere speedster Clare Gorman and Suttonians captain Catherine Martin, who represented Connacht last season, also hoping to make a splash.
Speaking at the squad announcement, Rosser said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the players compete at the next level, following their performances in the All-Ireland League. It’s fantastic to see so many young players emerge from our province, which is filled with a wealth of potential.
“We have selected an exciting combination of experienced and youthful talent. Our challenge is to build a cohesive group that genuinely compete for selection.
“We see the Interprovincial Championship as a crucial step towards the players earning an opportunity to pull on an Irish jersey.
“I’d like to thank all the clubs across the 12 counties for their part in developing the Women’s and Girls game. We also want to recognise the five regional teams that play a vital role in our Leinster player pathway.”
LEINSTER WOMEN’S SQUAD:
Backs (15): Ailsa Hughes (Tullamore RFC/Railway Union RFC), Anna Doyle (Tullow RFC/Blackrock College RFC), Aoife Dalton (Tullamore RFC/Old Belvedere RFC), Clare Gorman (Old Belvedere RFC), Dannah O’Brien (Tullow RFC/Old Belvedere RFC), Elise O’Byrne-White (Dublin University FC/Old Belvedere RFC), Ella Roberts (Wicklow RFC), Emma Kelly (Tullamore RFC/Old Belvedere RFC), Emma Tilly (MU Barnhall RFC/Old Belvedere RFC), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere RFC), Katie Whelan (Enniscorthy RFC/Old Belvedere RFC), Lisa Mullen (Virginia RFC/Blackrock College RFC), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Westmanstown/Garda RFC/Railway Union RFC), Niamh Byrne (Railway Union RFC), Catherine Martin (Suttonians RFC).
Forwards (16): Ali Coleman (Blackrock College RFC), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union RFC), Carrie O’Keeffe (Suttonians RFC), Chloe Blackmore (Railway Union RFC), Christy Haney (St. Mary’s College RFC/Blackrock College RFC) (co-capt), Clodagh Dunne (Gorey RFC/Old Belvedere RFC), Eimear Corri (Portlaoise RFC/Blackrock College RFC), Elaine Anthony (Old Belvedere RFC), Emma Murphy (Railway Union RFC), Hannah O’Connor (CYM RFC/Blackrock College RFC) (co-capt), Jess Keating (Old Belvedere RFC), Lisa Callan (Railway Union RFC), Mary Healy (Naas RFC/Suttonians RFC), Megan Collis (Greystones RFC/Railway Union RFC), Molly Boyne (Dublin University FC/Railway Union RFC), Niamh O’Dowd (Old Belvedere RFC).
LEINSTER VODAFONE WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES:
ROUND 1 – Saturday, January 7
Leinster v Connacht, Energia Park, 2.30pm (live TG4) – Buy Tickets Here
ROUND 2 – Saturday, January 14
Munster v Leinster, Musgrave Park, 12.15pm (live TG4) – Buy Tickets Here
ROUND 3 – Saturday, January 21
Ulster v Leinster, Queen’s University Upper Malone, 5.30pm (live BBC NI/TG4 Player) – Buy Tickets Here