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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 29 November 2020
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Sevens star Doyle in, Considine out as Ireland name XV for Six Nations opener

Adam Griggs has shown his hand ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Scotland at Energia Park.

Aoife Doyle in training earlier this month.
Aoife Doyle in training earlier this month.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

SEVENS STAR AOIFE Doyle makes a return to 15s international rugby in the exciting Ireland XV Adam Griggs has named ahead of their 2020 Women’s Six Nations opener.

Scotland are the opposition at Donnybrook’s Energia Park on Sunday [KO 1pm, live on RTÉ 2], with Limerick native Doyle making her first Ireland 15s appearance since winning her last cap in the 2015 Six Nations. 

Doyle, 25, joins Waterloo’s Lauren Delaney and 18-year-old Connacht flyer Beibhinn Parsons in the back-three, while highly-rated Eimear Considine and exciting young prospect Enya Breen miss out through injury. The Munster star duo picked up knocks in last weekend’s camp.

Longford woman Ellen Murphy gets the nod at out-half, while familiar duo Sene Naoupu and Michelle Claffey form the centre partnership. Ulster’s Kathryn Dane also starts among the backs.

Cameroon-born Leinster ace Linda Djougang — who made her Ireland debut in Ireland’s 22-5 win over Scotland last year — joins Lindsay Peat and Cliodhna Moloney in the back row, while there are also starts for Aoife McDermott and Nichola Fryday. 

Clare native Edel McMahon takes the reins from Claire Molloy — who’s on a break from international rugby — at openside flanker while she’s supported by captain Ciara Griffin and Anna Caplice in the back row. 

Young Railway Union and Munster duo Claire Keohane and Dorothy Wall are in line to make their 15s international debuts from the bench, while Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony is another Six Nations newcomer among the replacements.

“The preparation has been very good,” Griggs told Irish Rugby TV after naming his 23. “We’ve got a lot of work done through January as a squad and, at this stage, everyone is excited to get the Six Nations started and show the progress we have made.

“We’ve made no secret that last season’s results were not good enough and having a home game first up is the best possible way to start and put in a performance for ourselves and our home crowd.

We want to make sure that Energia Park is a hard place for travelling teams to come and play, so we must put our words into action and apply pressure from the very start.

“Unfortunately, we have picked up a couple of injuries,” he added. “Enya Breen and Eimear Considine picked up knocks at last weekend’s camp and will be out of this game.

“However, having the likes of Aoife Doyle returning to the 15s side is testament to the depth that we have built in the squad and also gives other squad members an opportunity to go out and express themselves. We have full confidence that those players stepping up will produce a quality performance.”

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eimear-considine-with-paige-randall-and-alecs-donovan Ireland are missing Eimear Considine through injury. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

After their worst Six Nations finish in 13 years in 2019, Ireland will look to make amends as they target wins in their three home games. 

“Scotland, first up, is a huge game for us,” Griggs added on the visit of ex-Ireland coach Philip ‘Goose’ Doyle’s side.

“We are well aware what they can bring, and simply, we need to be on our game and deliver our best performance yet to get the tournament off to a winning start and build confidence in what this group can do.”

Ireland Women Team & Replacements

15. Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo/ IQ Rugby)
14. Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/ Munster)
13. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
12. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/ Leinster)
11. Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/ Connacht)
10. Ellen Murphy (Gloucester-Hartpury/ IQ Rugby)
9. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/ Ulster)

1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/ Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/ IQ Rugby)
3. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
4. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/ Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Old Belvedere/ Connacht)
6. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian/ Munster) Capt.
7. Edel McMahon (Wasps/ Connacht / IQ Rugby)
8. Anna Caplice (Harlequins/ IQ Rugby)

Replacements:

16. Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
17. Laura Feely (Galwegians/ Connacht)
18. Leah Lyons (Harlequins/ IQ Rugby)
19. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/ Leinster)
20. Dorothy Wall (Railway Union/ Munster)*
21. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian / Munster)
22. Claire Keohane (Railway Union/ Munster)*
23. Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemian/ Munster)

*Uncapped at this level

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