Wednesday 19 June 2019

Seven new faces included in Irish Women's Six Nations squad

Hannah O'Connor of Leinster during the 2018 Womens Interprovincial Rugby Championship match between Connacht and Leinster at the Sportgrounds in Galway. Photo: Sportsfile
Hannah O'Connor of Leinster during the 2018 Womens Interprovincial Rugby Championship match between Connacht and Leinster at the Sportgrounds in Galway. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland Women's head coach Adam Griggs has named seven uncapped players in his Six Nations squad as he continues to develop the depth chart.

There is once again no place for former captain Niamh Briggs, who was also overlooked for both of last month's games.

The fresh faces in the 36-strong squad are Enya Breen, Kathryn Dane, Linda Djougang, Ailbhe Dowling, Eve Higgins, Claire Keohane and Hannah O'Connor.

Higgins is an exciting young prospect, who has been forging a fine reputation for herself in her performances for Railway Union in the All-Ireland League.

Cork native Keohane has focused her recent attention on sevens but she has been around the squad for a few years now and will add plenty of experience.

Welcome

There is a very welcome return from a horrific injury for Ali Miller, who to her credit has fought back to full fitness.

After 10 months out following a serious ankle injury suffered on Ireland duty, Miller was back in action for Old Belvedere last weekend. The speedy winger will improve Griggs' back-three options and will suit the expansive style of play that the Kiwi wants.

Stalwarts like Claire Molloy, Sene Naoupu, Ashleigh Baxter and Ciara Griffin are also included as Ireland look to improve on their third-place finish at this year's Six Nations.

Fresh from becoming the country's youngest ever debutant at 16, Connacht flyer Beibhinn Parsons is in line to make her first appearance in the competition.

Ireland begin their campaign at home in Donnybrook against England on Friday, February 1 before travelling to Scotland the following week.

Across the water Rio Olympics sevens skipper Emily Scarratt has been named among the first recipients of a full-time England Women's 15-a-side contract for 2019.

Scarratt and Natasha Hunt, World Cup winners in 2014 and who also played for England in last year's World Cup final against New Zealand, will be joined by exciting prospect Jess Breach.

The RFU announced in September that it would introduce women's full-time contracts this season.

Ireland Women's Six Nations squad - E Breen*, A Baxter, M Claffey, E Considine, N Cronin, K Dane*, J Deacon, L Delany, L Djougang*, A Dowling*, L Feely, N Fowley, N Fryday, L Galvin, C Griffin, E Higgins*, E Hooban, A Hughes, C Keohane*, L Lyons, A McDermott, C McLaughlin, E McMahon, A Miller, S Mimnagh, C Molloy E Murphy, S Naoupu, H O'Connor*, B Parsons, L Peat, F Reidy, L Sheehan, J Short, H Tyrrell, M Williams. (*Uncapped at this level)

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