Ireland women’s sevens side to look to prepare, hopefully, for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games albeit of course the sport is very new in Ireland and there remains the not unimportant task of qualifying for Rio in the first place.
So let us start by looking at the forthcoming tournament in Atlanta where Ireland face a daunting task in the ‘Group of Death’ that includes both New Zealand and England.
The Women’s Olympic Sevens squad to participate in the Atlanta Rugby Sevens event on the 15th – 16th February as part of the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series – has been named.
The squad includes three new players who have been identified as part of the IRFU’s on-going talent identification programme. The programme, which is open to the wider athletic and team sport community, offers elite athletes the opportunity to join an Olympic programme in what is a new and exciting international female sport.
Ireland have been drawn in a strong group in Pool B alongside New Zealand, England and The Netherlands and Aisling Naughton, Aoife Doyle, Elaine Ryan, Laura Walsh, Megan Williams, Nicola Cronin and Susan Vaughan travel to the USA to make their international sevens debuts.
Head Coach, Jon Skurr said
“A lot of hard work has gone in to get us to this point so far. It’s a big year for Irish women’s rugby, there’s a lot going on and one of our jobs is to extend the player base that we’ve got, so that we’ve got more people competing, which is why our talent identification process is so important.
“We’ve got a number of new caps going. It’s going to be tough, but I feel we’re really going to progress as the season goes on as these players develop their ability to play international rugby at the top level.”
Team Captain Shannon Houston said,
“It is so exciting and such a privilege to represent Ireland on the international stage. Taking part in the World Series is daunting but we know that by working together and working hard that we can take on anyone.”
IRELAND OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (ATLANTA 15-16 FEB):
First Name Surname Club Province
1 Aisling Naughton TALENT ID PROGRAMME
2 Aoife Doyle Shannon Munster
3 Christine Arthurs Tralee Connacht
4 Claire Keohane UL Bohs Munster
5 Elaine Ryan TALENT ID PROGRAMME
6 Laura O Mahony Tralee Munster
7 Laura Walsh TALENT ID PROGRAMME
8 Megan Williams Saracens Exiles
9 Niamh Ni Dhroma Buccaneers Connacht
10 Nicole Cronin Shannon Munster
11 Nikki Caughey Harlequins Ulster
12 Shannon Houston Blackrock Leinster
13 Siobhan Barrett Tralee Munster
14 Susan Vaughan Railway Union Leinster