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Jones: We’ve A Number Of Exciting Young Players Coming Through

Jones: We’ve A Number Of Exciting Young Players Coming Through

Ballinasloe native Méabh Deely, an Energia All-Ireland League winner with Blackrock College this season, is pictured with the Vodafone Women's Interprovincial Championship trophy ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The 37-strong Connacht squad selected for the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship, which begins on Saturday. has a youthful look to it with a total of ten teenagers involved.

Highly-rated Ireland Under-18 starlet Éabha Nic Dhonnacha is part of the westerners’ panel, along with promising winger Clara Barrett who had a breakthrough year in the Energia All-Ireland League, scoring five tries for UL Bohemians.

Lyndon Jones’ Connacht side can also boast two of the top three points scorers in the All-Ireland League this season – Méabh Deely, who helped Blackrock College to long-awaited title success, and Galwegians captain Nicole Fowley.

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Ireland prop Laura Feely is another player fresh from Blackrock’s impressive unbeaten campaign, while a number of players have gained recent experience with Connacht’s Emerging Talent squad, including forwards Dearbhla Canty and Alana Roche.

Connacht finished third in the 2021/22 Women’s Interpros, providing quite a test for Saturday’s first round opponents Leinster, who were made to work hard for a 17-12 win in Galway, before closing out the series with a 12-all draw with Ulster.

Jones, who has stepped up as Connacht’s head coach after being backs coach last season, commented: “It’s great that the games are finally here. The squad have been training really hard over Christmas so now it’s about putting all our hard work into practice over the next three weeks.

“Thanks to the ongoing work of our Women’s Emerging Talent programme, we have seen a number of exciting young players come through the ranks in the 15 months since our last competitive game. A number of those are in this squad.

“We’ve a few players unavailable through injury, while Beibhinn Parsons and Anna McGann are on the IRFU Sevens programme, but I feel we’ve still put together a really strong squad.

“It is a testament to all the hard work being done by both Connacht and the clubs in continuing to grow the Women’s game.

“We’ve just the one home game this year, so I’d really encourage every rugby supporter in the province to come out and support the group against Munster in Galway on Saturday, January 21.

“It would be well deserved for these players after all their efforts and commitment the past few months.”

Tickets are on sale now for Connacht’s final round clash with Munster at the Sportsground (kick-off 1pm) in little over two weeks’ time. There is free entry for all Connacht Rugby Season Ticket holders.


Backs (15): Clara Barrett (UL Bohemian RFC), Finola Collins (Old Belvedere RFC), Mairéad Coyne (Galwegians RFC), Méabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC), Orla Dixon (Galwegians RFC), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians RFC), Maria Gorham (Galwegians RFC), Olivia Haverty (Galwegians RFC), Mary Healy (Galwegians RFC), Laoise McGonagle (Galwegians RFC), Éabha Nic Dhonnacha (Tuam/Oughterard RFC), Sarah O’Connell (Galwegians RFC), Ava Ryder (Railway Union RFC), Shannon Touhey (Suttonians RFC), Kayla Waldron (Galwegians RFC).

Forwards (22): Katelyn Bourke (Galwegians RFC), Lily Brady (UL Bohemian RFC), Grace Browne Moran (Galwegians RFC), Dearbhla Canty (Galwegians RFC), Hannah Coen (Galwegians RFC), Emma Fabby (Railway Union RFC), Laura Feely (Blackrock College RFC), Orla Fenton (Galwegians RFC), Emily Gavin (Galwegians RFC), Stacy Hanley (OLBC RFC), Maria Kelleher (Longford RFC), Jessica Loftus (Galwegians RFC), Eva McCormack (UL Bohemian RFC), Sonia McDermott (Railway Union RFC), Elizabeth McNicholas (Galwegians RFC), Lisa-Marie Murphy (Galwegians RFC), Niamh O’Grady (Galwegians RFC), Grainne O’Loughlin (Railway Union RFC), Alana Roche (University of Galway RFC), Fiona Scally (Galwegians RFC), Mollie Starr (Galway Corinthians RFC), Karly Tierney (Tuam/Oughterard RFC).


ROUND 1 – Saturday, January 7

Leinster v Connacht, Energia Park, 2.30pm (live TG4)Buy Tickets Here

ROUND 2 – Saturday, January 14

Ulster v Connacht, Kingspan Stadium, 2.30pm (live BBC iPlayer/TG4 Player) – Buy Tickets Here

ROUND 3 – Saturday, January 21

Connacht v Munster, the Sportsground, 1pm (live TG4)Buy Tickets Here