Munster’s stalwart prop Fiona Reidy is expecting Connacht to be at their best when the two teams clash in the final round of the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship.
With two bonus point wins in the bag, Munster are red-hot favourites to retain their Interpro crown at the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 1pm), although Connacht are hoping to cause an upset on the back of beating Ulster last week.
“It’s a really important game and we’re under no illusions as to how strong Connacht will be,” admitted the Ireland-capped Reidy, who first played for Munster back in 2008.
“Connacht are a very tough side, they held Leinster at 0-0 for 30 minutes. They’re a physical team and they’ll certainly put it up to us.
“We’ve had really good intense sessions, and ‘Briggsy’ (Niamh Briggs) and the guys have just been great in terms of upping the intensity and really putting us through our paces. Making sure we’ve prepared as best we can be.
“It’s always great to beat Leinster, especially down on home turf in Musgrave Park (last week). It was extra special there in front of our own friends and family and supporters.”
Reidy is one of the most experienced members of Briggs’ squad, and has been hugely encouraged by emerging young talent like 18-year-old out-half/centre Kate Flannery and powerful prop Eilís Cahill, who is one of a clutch of 21 and 22-year-olds in the group.
While praising the work done around the province to develop these youngsters who have come into ‘a good positive environment’, the Limerick native already has an eye on future seasons and Munster’s drive to remain at the top.
Keith Earls presented the jerseys to the Munster Women ahead of their title decider and he brought along his three young daughters, Ella Maye, Laurie and Emie, to assist, much to the delight of Briggs’ charges.
Reidy is hopeful that occasions like that and the increased TV coverage of the Women’s Interpros, with TG4 and BBC Northern Ireland both broadcasting live games, can inspire the stars of tomorrow to don the red jersey and raise standards even further.
“That was so special,” she said of the jersey presentation at UL. “It was just a reminder of why we’re doing this, and it is about bridging that gap in terms of where we are now and what needs to be done to move us forward into a more professional era.
“It’s so important for visibility that those young girls can see us – it’s not just male Munster players, there’s female Munster players there as well.
“We’re out competing and scoring unbelievable tries and promoting the sport for young girls like that to take it up and be the next generation of players.”