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Ireland U-20 Women’s Team Named For Summer Series Opener

Jane Neill 21/6/2024

Galwegians forward Jane Neill will have the honour of leading out the Ireland Under-20 Women's team for their first Summer Series match against England in Parma ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The Ireland Under-20 Women’s team (sponsored by PwC) has been announced for their first Six Nations Women’s Summer Series match against England in Parma on Thursday (kick-off 6.30pm local time/5.30pm Irish time).

Arklow RFC product Jane Neill will captain the Ireland Under-20s for the historic clash at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, which comes a year on from the training games played against Italy and Scotland in L’Aquila.

The two second rows, Neill and Ruth Campbell, were part of that inaugural Ireland U-20 Women’s trip, along with fellow starters Ellen Boylan, Kate Flannery, Hannah Wilson, Sophie Barrett, and Ivana Kiripati.

Head coach Niamh Briggs (pictured below with captain Neill) has the highly-rated Kiripati packing down at number 8, with Brianna Heylmann and Éadaoin Murtagh completing the back row. Munster’s Beth Buttimer, who only turns 19 next month, joins Wilson and Barrett in the front row.

Eager to build on her Energia All-Ireland League success with UL Bohemian, Tipperary native Flannery teams up with Old Belvedere’s Jade Gaffney at half-back to direct the Irish back-line.

UL Bohs’ three-try player-of-the-match from the AIL final, Chisom Ugwueru, is part of a pacy back-three which includes Hannah Clarke and Robyn O’Connor, who were both playing for the Ireland U-18 Women’s Sevens side this time last year.

Boylan and former Dolphin player Lucia Linn form the centre partnership for Briggs’ young side, while the replacements bench includes two more IQ Rugby recruits in backs May Goulding and Niamh Gallagher, who are both attached to Saracens.

Four of Ireland’s matchday 23 were Energia All-Ireland League winners with UL Bohs in April – prolific winger Ugwueru, their top points scorer Flannery, and forwards Heylmann and Buttimer.

Ugwueru is also one of the three permitted Under-23 players in the squad, along with Campbell and Kiripati. All three were in camp with Ireland during this year’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations, either as a squad member or training panellist.

Speaking about the Women’s Summer Series debut for Ireland, Briggs said: “Competition within the squad has been huge, we’ve prepped really well.

“It’s going to be tough as England are a very strong team. For us, it’s about concentrating on us as we’re at a different stage of the path to them at the moment.”

All of the Six Nations Women’s Summer Series matches will be live on the Six Nations Rugby Under-20s YouTube channel – click here – and here on IrishRugby.ie.

IRELAND UNDER-20 WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v England Under-20s, 2024 Six Nations Women’s Summer Series, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, Thursday, July 4, kick-off 6.30pm local time/5.30pm Irish time):

Player/Club/Province –

15. Robyn O’Connor (Wexford Wanderers RFC/Leinster)
14. Hannah Clarke (Tuam/Oughterard RFC/Connacht)
13. Lucia Linn (Loughborough University/IQ Rugby)
12. Ellen Boylan (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)
11. Chisom Ugwueru (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
10. Kate Flannery (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
9. Jade Gaffney (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
1. Hannah Wilson (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
2. Beth Buttimer (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
3. Sophie Barrett (Enniskillen RFC/Railway Union RFC/Ulster)
4. Ruth Campbell (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
5. Jane Neill (Galwegians RFC/Leinster) (capt)
6. Brianna Heylmann (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
7. Éadaoin Murtagh (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
8. Ivana Kiripati (American International College/Connacht)


16. Kelly Burke (Mullingar RFC/Leinster)
17. Grainne Burke (Ennis/Kilrush RFC/UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
18. Lily Morris (Killarney RFC/Munster)
19. Clíodhna Ní Chonchobhair (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
20. Aoibheann Hahessy (Ennis/Kilrush RFC/UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
21. May Goulding (Saracens/Old Albanian Saints/IQ Rugby)
22. Ellie O’Sullivan Sexton (Mullingar RFC/Leinster)
23. Niamh Gallagher (Saracens/IQ Rugby)


Head Coach – Niamh Briggs
Assistant Coach – JP Walsh
Assistant Coach – Murray Houston
Athletic Development Coach – Paul Heasley
Physio – Aoife Healy
Kit Man – John McDonald
Analyst  – Niamh O’Donovan
Nutrition – Leanne Varley
Team Manager – Becky Irvine


England v Ireland, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, Thursday, July 4, kick off 6.30pm local time/5.30pm Irish time
Ireland v Italy, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, Tuesday, July 9, kick off 10am local time/9am Irish time
Ireland v Scotland, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, Sunday, July 14, kick off 10am local time/9am Irish time