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9 uncapped players as Ireland Women build up to Six Nations without Spence and Murphy

New head coach Adam Griggs has plenty of experienced talents in his 38-strong squad.

NEW IRELAND WOMEN’S head coach Adam Griggs has been able to retain an experienced core in his squad as he takes the team on from the home World Cup debacle into the 2018 Six Nations.

Jenny Murphy and Sophie Spence dejected after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Kiwi coach has named a 38-strong training squad for the Championship with 18 members of the World Cup squad retained. That number does not include the power of Sophie Spence or Jenny Murphy, however core leaders such as Paula Fitzpatrick, Ciara Griffin, Lindsay Peat, Ali Miller, World Cup captain Claire Molloy and regular skipper Niamh Briggs do return.

Update, 13.10:  Sophie Spence announces retirement from international rugby after omission from Six Nations squad

The disappointment of an eighth-place finish during August’s World Cup marked an end of the international career for stalwarts such as Nora Stapleton, Maz Reilly, Ruth O’Reilly and Ailis Egan.

There are nine uncapped players in the group including young Railway Union out-half Eve Higgins and Galwegians pair Edel McMahon and Laura Feely.

Ciara Griffin celebrates at the final whistle Back row Ciara Griffin was the star of an otherwise disappointing World Cup campaign. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

In an effort to plot their way around the debate that raged over the availability of Sevens players during last years Six Nations, the statement released by the union this morning made it clear that players selected for the Sydney 7s on January 27 and 28 will not be available for the Six Nations opener against France on 3 February.

There are nine representatives from the Sevens programme in Griggs’ squad, including the uncapped Katie Heffernan and Megan Williams.

“Over the course of the inter-provincial fixtures I’ve had the opportunity to see the players in competitive and challenging games,” said head coach Griggs

“It was very valuable for me to see them in action. There is good experience in the squad, with most of the players selected competing at this level for a number of seasons.”

Ireland Women’s squad for 2018 Six Nations

(* denotes uncapped at international level)

Forwards:

Elaine Anthony (Highfield / Munster)
Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke / Ulster)
Anna Caplice (UL Bohemian / Munster)
Ciara Cooney (Railway Union / Leinster)
Laura Feely (Galwegians / Connacht)*
Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College / Leinster)
Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s College / Leinster)
Nichola Fryday (Tullamore / Connacht)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian / Munster)
Leah Lyons (Highfield / Munster)
Aoife McDermott (Railway Union / Leinster)*
Edel McMahon ((Galwegians / Connacht)*
Claire Molloy (Bristol)
Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union / Leinster)
Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians / Connacht)
Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian / Munster)
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union / Leinster)
Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemian / Munster)

Backs:

Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians / Munster)
Nikki Caughey (Railway Union / Ulster)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College / Leinster)*
Mairead Coyne (Galwegians / Connacht)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian / Munster)
Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock College / Leinster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College / Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union / Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemian / Munster)
Mary Healy (Galwegians / Connacht)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union / Leinster)*
Eve Higgins (Railway Union / Leinster)*
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union / Leinster)
Claire McLaughlin (Cooke / Ulster)
Alison Miller (Old Belvedere / Connacht)
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere / Leinster)
Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (UL Bohemian / Munster)*
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere / Leinster)
Susan Vaughan (Railway Union / Leinster)*
Megan Williams (Old Belvedere / Leinster)*

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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