Leinster Women begin their Interprovincial campaign
November 29, 2016 11:41 am Elma Beirne
The close proximity of the international series to Leinster’s opening fixture away to Connacht at Tuam RFC on Saturday doesn’t leave too much leeway for the release of players back to their provinces.
The same pothole to preparations is there for all four provinces.
It is just that Leinster will be more inconvenienced than the other three.
Whatever about the players involved against England and Canada, it would seem prudent of the IRFU to take a cautious approach to the release of Ireland’s internationals from a typically physical battle against The Black Ferns at UCD on Sunday.
This is particularly relevant in the front five where Ireland internationals Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Ailis Egan, Mary Louise Reilly and Orla Fitzsimons are likely to fall outside Leinster’s reach unless released for bench duty.
Leinster and Munster have alternated as the Interprovincial champions since the inception of the competition in the season of 2011-2012.
The official competition is into its’ sixth season with the Top-2 provinces finishing first and second in each of the five previous.
In fact, Leinster were the inaugural winners with three straight wins. Munster managed the same achievement in 2012-2013, Leinster in 2013-2014 and Munster in 2014-2015.
The trend was all set to continue last season only for Munster to spoil Leinster’s plans with a resolute 15-7 victory at Thomond Park last September, putting back-to-back titles together.
“It is a huge motivation for us. We want the title back,” said Leinster coach Adam Griggs.
“Over the last couple of years, it has always come down to the last game between Leinster and Munster.
“Again, Munster is the last of the three fixtures for us. We hope for the same scenario, to have it all on the line for that match in Donnybrook.”
Before they get there, Leinster will have to negotiate the threats posed by Connacht and Ulster.
The Western Province will be first-up at Tuam RFC this Saturday.
“From what we’ve gathered – we don’t have much information on any of the squads – we have gone off what the AIL clubs have shown.
“We expect Connacht to be very physical and we know they have a really good scrum-half in Ireland’s Mary Healy.
“We are really going to have to mind her, if she is released. We can’t give her too much time and space on the ball to dictate the game.”
The middle-leg of the three matches will take place at Donnybrook on Saturday week where Ulster will be keen to make improvements.
“Ulster would be one of the more direct teams, I would think,” he said.
“They will try to bring their physicality to us, take us on up front.
“For us, we have them at home on the 4G pitch. We will certainly be looking to move them around and really use the ball to attack on the edges.”
Griggs will have Ireland’s strong-running centre Jenny Murphy, just back from surgery, to provide real go-forward through the middle in what is otherwise a very young squad.
The Leinster Way does not change from gender-to-gender and coach Adam Griggs will push for a positive outlook.
“We’re certainly very attack-based, using the width on the 4G pitch at Donnybrook where we will play our home games,” said Griggs.
“We will look to play expansive rugby at a good pace because of the surface there and for the way we like to play anyway.
“We would encourage the girls to play what they see, to look for the opportunities in front of them and we back them to take an educated guess on the ball.”
Leinster Women’s Interprovincial Fixtures:
Fixture List - Leinster Women (9)
504 Gateway Time-out
Leinster Women’s Squad 2016-17:
|Jennie Finlay||Old Belvedere RFC|
|Anne Marie Rooney||Blackrock College RFC|
|Joanna Mahon||Blackrock College RFC|
|Lauren Retig||Suttonians RFC|
|Manuala mc Carthy||Blackrock College RFC|
|Caoimhe Molloy||Gorey RFC|
|Fiona O Brien||Old Belvedere RFC|
|Susan Fogarty||Railway Union RFC|
|Mairead Hoolihan||Blackrock College RFC|
|Kate McCarthy||Railway Union RFC|
|Dawn Smith||Blackrock College RFC|
|Linda Djougang||Old Belvedere RFC|
|Juliet Rose Short||Railway Union RFC|
|Carmella Morey||Blackrock College RFC|
|Rachel Horan||CYM RFC|
|Katie Norris||Blackrock College RFC|
|Niamh Griffen||Blackrock College RFC|
|Ailsa Hughes||Railway Union RFC|
|Michelle Claffey||Blackrock College RFC|
|Nicole Carroll||Suttonians RFC|
|Jenny Murphy||Old Belvedere RFC|
|Shauna O Brien||Edenderry RFC|
|Jane O Neill||Kilkenny RFC|
|Carrie Hanley||Blackrock College RFC|
|Eimear Corri||Blackrock College RFC|
|Niamh Byrne||Railway Union RFC|
|Laura Mahon||MU Barnhall RFC|
|Ali Coleman||Blackrock College RFC|
|Meaghan Kenny||Navan RFC|
|Maria Kenny||Old Belvedere RFC|