Ireland women’s rugby coach Philip Doyle has included 10 uncapped players in his squad of 31 for the forthcoming Womens 6 Nations Tournament.
As in recent seasons the team will play its home matches at the Ashbourne RFC in County Meath.
Sadly the IRFU have not organised any pre-season International friendlies though in January they meet an Irish Exiles women’s side, most of whom reside in the UK.
Doyle said: “I’m delighted with the squad this year. We have a lot of young and upcoming players coming through the system.
“The selection was the toughest since the Women’s World Cup last year which bodes well for the forthcoming 6 Nations Championship.”
Ireland open their 2012 campaign on , February 3 when they play Wales at Ashbourne and their final – and toughest outing – against England – is scheduled for 17th March in Esher.
Considering the lack of funding and resources, the Irish women have done remarkably well in recent seasons but the I.R.F.U needs to finding adequate additional funding if the game is to thrive .
Currently Ireland does not have an A side or an U20s side, unlike those ranked above them and indeed Ireland together with Luxembourg and Slovenia are the only European women’s rugby playing nations who have not entered a team in the World Sevens qualifiers.
This situation needs to be rectified if the sport is to achieve its full potential in Ireland. The IRFU should also follow the example of England who have organised women’s internationals either immediately before or after men’s 6 Nations fixtures.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship):
Christine Arthurs (Tralee – Connacht)*
Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins – Ulster)*
Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians – Munster)
Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians – Munster)
Helen Brosnan (Highfield – Munster)
Lynne Cantwell (Exile)
Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins – Ulster)*
Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians – Leinster)
Amy Davis (Blackrock – Leinster)
Grace Davitt (Cooke – Ulster)
Lauren Day (Cooke – Ulster)
Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere – Leinster)
Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s – Leinster)*
Siobhan Fleming (Tralee – Munster)*
Laura Guest (Highfield – Munster)
Shannon Houston (Blackrock – Leinster)
Ashling Hutchings (UL Bohemians – Munster)*
Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians – Munster)
Stacey-Lea Kennedy (City of Derry – Ulster)
Glenda Mellon (City of Derry – Ulster)*
Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Highfield – Connacht)
Claire Molloy (Bristol – Exile)
Larissa Muldoon (Exile/UWIC – Ulster)
Joy Neville (UL Bohemians – Munster)
Heather O’Brien (Highfield – Munster)
Laura O’Mahony (Tralee – Munster)*
Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians – Connacht)*
Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere – Leinster)
Tania Rosser (Blackrock – Leinster)
Sophie Spence (Exile)*
Carol Staunton (Galwegians – Connacht)
* Denotes uncapped player
IRELAND WOMEN’S 2012 FIXTURES -
(All times are local to where the games are being played)
Friday, February 3: Ireland v Wales, Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm
Saturday, February 11: France v Ireland, Stade de Hameau, Pau, 6.30pm
Friday, February 24: Ireland v Italy, Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm
Friday, March 9: Ireland v Scotland, Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm
Saturday, March 17: England v Ireland, Esher RFC, London, 2.30pm