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Fogarty And Alcorn Finalise Teams For Celtic Challenge’s Fifth Round

Fogarty And Alcorn Finalise Teams For Celtic Challenge’s Fifth Round

Wolfhounds captain Molly Boyne leads the team out at Kingspan Stadium, ahead of last week's bonus point victory over Brython Thunder ©INPHO/Ben Brady

The Clovers and Wolfhounds teams have been announced for the fifth round of the Celtic Challenge, with six and four changes respectively to their starting XVs for this week.

The unbeaten Wolfhounds sealed their place in the top three play-offs with last weekend’s 41-10 bonus point win over Brython Thunder, during which teenage winger Katie Corrigan crossed for four tries.

Neill Alcorn’s table toppers are at home again on Saturday afternoon, entertaining the other Welsh side, Gwalia Lightning, in a 2.30pm kick-off at Energia Park. Tickets are on sale here.

Meanwhile, Denis Fogarty’s Clovers moved up one place to third after beating Glasgow Warriors 29-10 thanks to a five-try salvo. They return to Scotland for a crunch clash with second-placed Edinburgh on Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm). Both matches will be streamed live for free on RugbyPass TV.

Four of Fogarty’s six personnel changes are up front, as Ruth Campbell, a try scorer against Brython Thunder in round two, returns to the second row, and Brianna Heylmann, who scored against Glasgow, and Shannon Touhey join Jane Clohessy in the loose forwards.

Ballincollig prop Róisín Ormond swaps in for Sadhbh McGrath at tighthead, the experienced Ailsa Hughes gets the nod at scrum half, and there is a first Celtic Challenge start for Ennis youngster Chisom Ugwueru, the Energia All-Ireland League’s leading try scorer this season.

Heading into the final round before the play-offs begin, Fogarty said: “We had our first away trip last weekend and I was very impressed with the team performance. Preparations are continuing as we will once again travel to Scotland this Saturday.

“With the race for the play-offs heating up, it’s set to be another big Celtic Challenge clash. We’re excited and are relishing the challenge for what will be a tough game against a strong Edinburgh side in the Hive Stadium.”

Wolfhounds head coach Alcorn has handed first starts of the competition to scrum half Jade Gaffney, hooker Maebh Clenaghan, and blindside flanker Claire Boles, while the latter’s Ireland Sevens colleague, Katie Heffernan, also features.

Mullingar native Heffernan will make her Wolfhounds debut at inside centre, with the ever-present Aoife Dalton switching back to the number 13 jersey. Connacht’s Ava Ryder continues at full-back.

Ulster forwards India Daley and Keelin Brady are part of a strong bench along with Ireland back rower Grace Moore. Old Belvedere’s Katie Whelan returns to the matchday 23 as replacement scrum half.

Speaking about his side’s determination to keep up their winning run at home, Alcorn said: “We really enjoyed our game last weekend at Kingspan Stadium and playing in front of our home crowd, and are looking forward to another run-out at Energia Park this Saturday.

“We want to keep driving on with our performances each week ahead of the play-off rounds. We’re looking forward to playing at home once again, against Gwalia Lightning, for what should be another exciting game in the Celtic Challenge.”

CLOVERS Team (v Edinburgh Rugby, Celtic Challenge Round 5, Hive Stadium, Saturday, February 3, kick-off 12:30pm)

15. Méabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)
14. Chisom Ugwueru (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
13. Aoife Corey (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
12. Kayla Waldron (Railway Union RFC/Connacht)
11. Alana McInerney (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
10. Kate Flannery (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
1. Niamh O’Dowd (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
2. Beth Buttimer (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
3. Róisín Ormond (Ballincollig RFC/Munster)
4. Ruth Campbell (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
5. Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) (Captain)
6. Jane Clohessy (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
7. Brianna Heylmann (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
8. Shannon Touhey (Tullamore RFC/Connacht)

16. Aoife Fleming (Ballincollig RFC/Munster)
17. Grainne Burke (Ennis RFC/Munster)
18. Roisin Maher (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
19. Claire Bennett (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
20. Sarah McCormick (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
21. Muirne Wall (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
22. Michelle O’Driscoll (Ballincollig RFC/Munster)
23. Amy Larn (MU Barnhall RFC/Leinster)

WOLFHOUNDS Team (v Gwalia Lightning, Celtic Challenge Round 5, Energia Park, Saturday, February 3, kick-off 2:30pm):

15. Ava Ryder (Railway Union RFC/Connacht)
14. Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
13. Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
12. Katie Heffernan (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
11. Niamh Marley (Dungannon RFC/Cooke RFC/Ulster)
10. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
9. Jade Gaffney (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)

1. Aoife Moore (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
2. Meabh Clenaghan (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
3. Sophie Barrett (Enniskillen RFC/Railway Union RFC/Ulster)
4. Eimear Corri (Blackrock Rugby/Leinster)
5. Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
6. Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
7. Molly Boyne (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) (Captain)
8. Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)

16. India Daley (Blackrock College RFC/Ulster)
17. Megan Collis (Railway Union/Leinster)
18. Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
19. Keelin Brady (Railway Union RFC/Ulster)
20. Grace Moore (Saracens)
21. Katie Whelan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
22. Abby Moyles (Blackrock RFC/Ulster)
23. Leah Tarpey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Standings after Round Four

Fixtures and Tickets

Edinburgh Rugby v Clovers
Saturday, February 3, Hive Stadium, 12.30pm

Wolfhounds v Gwalia Lightning
Saturday, February 3, Energia Park, 2.30pm
(Purchase Tickets Here)

Play-Off Rounds:

Saturday, February 17, Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday, February 24, Kingspan Stadium
Sunday, March 3, Parc y Scarlets