Ulster Women U18’s squad has been named for their opening Inter-provincial match against Connacht at Virginia RFC on Sunday afternoon. Kick off 15:00.

The team features a strong core of last seasons players with twelve of that squad returning to defend their Grand Slam title. Virginia RFC, once again, make an extraordinary contribution to age grade rugby by providing ten of the players, which should guarantee plenty of local support at the Deerpark grounds.

Forwards coach Charlie Farrell has been able to field an exceptionally strong front trow of Emma Kearney and Grace Shrestha alongside, new cap, Ella Garland. Megan Brodie and Caolinn McCormack form an all Virginia second row and newcomer Katie Hetherington slots into the back row alongside FRU Favourites Bethany McDowell and Keelin Brady. It’s a strong looking pack.

Backs coach Zoe Templeton has given Amanda McQuade her first start at scrum half where she will be supported by the wonderfully talented Lisa Mullen at out half. Mullin and inside centre Lucy Turkington will give Ulster plenty of options with the ball in hand and off the foot and expect hard running centre Kelly McCormill to punch plenty of holes in midfield.

The back three feature Ireland sevens player Ellie Ingram and Letterkenny’s wonder-kid Mya Alcorn on the wings with Virginia’s Ruth Gilsenan at full back.

Plenty of talent in the replacements with Aoife Cahill, Ava Fannin and Tammy Millar all able to do a robust job in the front trow. Virginia’s Sorcha McCormack will be hoping to join her sister in second row and the back row replacement is Ciara Byers.

The feisty scrum half replacement Amber Redmond will be itching to get on, as will experienced centre Ellie Rix. Athletics star turned rugby player, Holly Brannigan, will be looking for a chance to show her pace in the back three.

Ulster Women U18: Ruth Gilsenan, Mya Alcorn, Kelly McCormill, Lucy Turkington, Ellie Ingram. Lisa Mullen, Amanda McQuade, Emma Kearney, Grace Shrestha (c), Ella Garland, Megan Brodie, Caolin McCormack, Bethany McDowell, Katie Hetherington, Keelin Brady (vc). Replacements: Aoife Cahill, Ava Fannin, Tammy Millar, Sorcha McCormack, Ciara Byers, Amber Redmond, Ellie Rix, Holly Brannigan.

Management Team: Zoe Templeton (Backs), Charlie Farrell (Forwards), Jemma Jackson (Manager), Imogen Porter (Physio).

Team video below followed by our interview last years captain Neve Jones.

#SUFTUM