The teams were announced earlier today for the Second Round match of the Women’s Interprovincial Series between Munster and Ulster.
Ulster have made a couple of changes, Peita McAlister comes into the centre and Nikki Caughey moves to fullback. Up front Neve Jones claims a starting spot at hooker with Beth Cregan moving to the back row.
Munster have also made a couple of changes with with Laura O’Mahony moving to fullback and Laura Sheehan promoted from the bench to the wing.
Jones’ inclusion at hooker sets up an interesting battle for the youngster against, Ireland’s best hooker of the last ten years, Gill Bourke. I suspect it is a few games too early for Jones but challenging herself against the likes of Bourke is where she needs to be.
Generally, both teams will be familiar to each other with Munster starting with twelve UL Bohemian players and Ulster starting with ten players who have turned out for Cooke this season.
My feeling is that Ulster missed their chance of causing an upset last weekend. They had Leinster on the ropes for the opening 20 minutes and failed to take advantage, their back line too lateral and too predictable. I suspect this is why the experienced Caughey has been moved to full back, to offer an option from deep, though my preference would have been to move Downey to the centre and McAlister to the wing. However McAlister and Hogan should offer a brick wall defence in the middle of the park.
As it is, discussing the niceties of the back line is probably a moot point as this match will be won or lost up front and it’s here that the experienced Munster pack have a distinct advantage.
Of course, Van Staden will continue to anchor the Ulster scrum and disrupt the Munster one but if Ulster are going to compete in this one they will need to treasure the ball and go into contact a lot lower than they did last week. They need to stop this grizzly Munster pack from weaving their magic.
The bulk of this Munster team threw a big smothering blanket over Railway Union a couple of weeks ago and I suspect they took Connacht for granted last time out, many of the players suffering their first “competitive” defeat this season in that match against the Westies.
There will be a rebound and, I suspect, it’ll take a huge effort from the Ulster pack if they are going to kick start their campaign at Garryowen on Saturday afternoon.
|Munster Women||Ulster Women|
|Laura O’Mahoney||15||Nikki Caughey|
|Laura Sheehan||14||Emma Jordan|
|Aine Staunton||13||Brittany Hogan|
|Niamh Kavanagh||12||Peita McAlister|
|Syphonia Pua||11||Eliza Downey|
|Rachel Allen||10||Larissa Muldoon|
|Ellen Murphy||9||Kathryn Dane|
|Fiona Hayes||1||Ilse van Staden|
|Gillian Bourke||2||Neve Jones|
|Fiona Reidy||3||Sorcha Mac Laimhin|
|Siobhan McCarthy||4||Hannah Beattie|
|Chloe Pearse||5||Rebecca Smyth|
|Edel Murphy||6||Beth Cregan|
|Siobhan Fleming||7||Gemma McCutcheon|
|Ciara Griffin||8||Lauren Maginnes|
|Leah Lyons||16||Lesley Megarity|
|Maura Collins||17||Helen McGhee|
|Zoe Grattage||18||Aishling O’Connell|
|Roisin Ormond||19||Amanda Maginn|
|Anna Caplice||20||Storm Cobain|
|Christine Arthurs||21||Amy Graham|
|Valerie Power||22||Vicky Irwin|
|Linda McNamara||23||Teah Maguire|