The teams have been named for Saturday afternoons Irish Women’s Interprovincial between Connacht and Ulster which takes place at Corinthians RFC, Galway, kick off 2:00pm.
After last week’s disappointing performance Ulster have opted for youth in the back line with Brittany Hogan, Leah McGoldrick and Vicky Irwin starting at centre, wing and full back respectively. Fellow youngster Hannah Beattie regains her place in second row with Storm Cobain dropping to the bench. The other change sees Beth Cregan starting at hooker with Lesley Megarity benching. International Nikki Caughey drops out of the squad to get treatment for a shoulder injury.
Connacht have opted for three changes with Val Mitchell of UL Bohs coming in for Marian Sheridan, Caroline Staunton of St Mary’s comes in for Heather Carey and the experienced Allison Miller of Old Belvedere comes in for Jill Dreaper.
How this match goes will depend a lot on how Ulster have recovered following their trouncing by Leinster last week, when the front five were outgunned and the back line lost shape too often. Speaking to Philip Doyle after the game the disappointment was palpable:
“It’s a massive disappointment, we were actually very confident coming into this weekend but unfortunately we ran into this issue of experience, Leinster had eight or nine full internationals and unfortunately we are always going to struggle against this as Ulster over the last five or six years has been depleted of that kind of experience. We’re fighting an uphill battle here but we’ll continue to battle on.”
Connacht and Ulster will both have been targeting this game for a win and at the minute the smart money would be on Connacht who have already recorded a win, against Leinster, in this series. It may well have been a much different Leinster than the one Ulster faced, but a win is a win and the Westies followed it up with a tight game against Munster last week, losing by the odd score away from home.
On the plus side, Ulster did beat Connacht in a pre-season friendly back in August and the Ulster youngsters are a bit of an unknown quantity at this level with Vicky Irwin, in particular, capable of springing a few surprises.
The FRU Predicts: My head says to go with Connacht but I hope this is an Ulster side that comes out fired up to put right last weeks result. If they do they could just sneak it!
|Connacht Women||Ulster Women|
|Mairead Coyne||15||Vicky Irwin|
|Orla Dixon||14||Leah McGoldrick|
|Shannon Touhey||13||Claire McLaughlin|
|Emma Cleary||12||Brittany Hogan|
|Allison Miller||11||Amy Davis|
|Clare Raftery||10||Jemma Jackson|
|Mary Healy||9||Kathryn Dane|
|Laura Feely||1||Ilse Van Staden|
|Ciara O’Connor||2||Beth Cregan|
|Anne-Marie O’Hora||3||Sorcha Mac Laimhim|
|Amelie Roux||4||Naomi McCullagh|
|Val Mitchell||5||Hannah Beattie|
|Caroline Staunton||6||Gemma McCutcheon|
|Grainne Egan||7||Ashleigh Baxter|
|Nichola Fryday||8||Lauren Maginnes|
|Eimear Murphy||16||Brigid Collins|
|Marian Sheridan||17||Shauna Martin|
|Tara Buggie||18||Lesley Megarity|
|Heather Carey||19||Aisling O’Connell|
|Shannon Lane||20||Storm Cobain|
|Sarah Jane Fox||21||Peita McAlister|
|Jill Dreaper||22||Emma Jordan|
|Ursula Sammon||23||Maeve Liston|