Griggs names 29-strong squad as Ireland's Six Nations preparations continue

Eight uncapped players are included for a warm-up game against Wales this weekend.

Ireland manager Adam Griggs.
Ireland manager Adam Griggs.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND WOMEN’S HEAD coach Adam Griggs has announced a 29-strong squad as his side prepare for their upcoming 2019 Six Nations campaign with an uncapped warm-up fixture against Wales.

Energia Park, Donnybrook plays host to Sunday’s clash [kick-off 1pm] and eight uncapped players have been included in the squad, the newest faces coming as Sevens international Claire Boles and Connacht’s Anne Marie O’Hora.

Griggs announced Ireland’s Six Nations squad before Christmas, a 36-player panel which included seven uncapped players. Six have been retained for the Wales warm-up match; Enya Breen, Kathryn Dane, Linda Djougang, Ailbhe Dowling, Claire Keohane and Hannah O’Connor.

Some players have not been considered due to injury but may come back through the tournament, while others are with the Sevens set-up at the moment and will be considered for selection for the last three games.

Winger Alison Miller has returned to the set-up after a serious leg injury in last year’s Six Nations while further experience comes in the form of Ciara Griffin — who’s been named captain once again — Claire Molloy, Leah Lyons and Sene Naoupu.

Jasmine Joyce tackles Alison Miller Alison Miller facing Wales at the 2017 World Cup. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Again, there is no place for Niamh Briggs. The Munster out-half was left out for the November Tests and has been overlooked in Griggs’ two most recent squad announcements.

“We have had two very productive training camps since Christmas and the players have been working hard to make sure we carry on from the good performance we had in our last Autumn international against England in Twickenham,” Griggs said ahead of Sunday.

“While we didn’t get the result we were after in that game the players took a big step in terms of their development and now have a feel for what is required at international level.

Emer O'Mahony with Nicole Caughey tackle Linda Djougang Old Belvedere's Linda Djougang is one of the uncapped players. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“It’s great to get a warm-up fixture for the Six Nations of this quality where we will be able to try out some new combinations and really test ourselves in what we have been doing in camp together.

“We are missing some key players who are unavailable to us due to injury which is unfortunate and not ideal at the start of the Six Nations, but it is a chance to give some very talented new faces an opportunity to put their hands up and show us they can compete at international level.”

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Ireland get their Six Nations campaign underway against England at Energia Park on Friday, 1 February [kick-off 5pm].

Sene Naoupu and Lydia Thompson Sene Naoupu on the run against England last year. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ireland Women’s squad v Wales 

Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster) *
Enya Breen (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster)
Anna Caplice (Richmond)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster) *
Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo Ladies/IQ Rugby)
Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Ailbhe Dowling (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht)
Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht)
Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/Connacht)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
Emma Hooban (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)
Claire Keohane (Railway Union/Munster) *
Leah Lyons (Harlequins)
Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster)
Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/Ulster)
Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
Claire Molloy (Wasps)
Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock/Leinster) *
Anne Marie O’Hora (Galwegians/Connacht) *
Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Juliet Short (Railway Union/Leinster)
Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

* Denotes uncapped player at this level

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