This season’s series of interprovincial ties for our U18 Leinster girls will kick off tomorrow, Saturday, 18 October in Westmanstown RFC…

Over 50 girls from 14 clubs across the province have been vying for a place in the squad which takes on Munster at 12 noon and Connacht at 2.30 p.m., with the final match of the series against Ulster taking place on Saturday, 1 November also in Westmanstown.

The initial squad of 33 players has been training hard for the past three weeks under Jennie Bagnall, Women’s Rugby Development Officer, Dave McKeown, team manager, and head coach, Laura O’Callaghan, with the assistance of forwards coach, Sarah Duignan – the first ever female community rugby officer who works for Cill Dara RFC and Leinster Rugby.

The U18s have also benefited from the experience of backs coaches, Aoife Thompson and Meagan Parkinson, the Leinster Women’s senior squad scrum half who is also one of the first female graduates of Carlow IT’s rugby course.  All the coaches have painstakingly developed and prepared the squad for the very competitive interprovincial matches.

Last year, the Leinster girls beat all three of their rivals in the interprovincial blitz so the pressure is on for them to maintain their unbeaten record!  This year’s panel is better than ever, with a significant number of last year’s players supplemented by some exciting new talent.  The final squad of 28 also includes one “veteran” – Anna O’Neill (Portlaoise RFC) who has been selected a record third time, having first been chosen at the tender age of 15!

Five players – Eimear Corri (Portlaoise RFC), Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC), Jessica Hunt (Wicklow RFC), Maebh O’Brien (Naas RFC) and Louise Scully (Portlaoise RFC) were also selected for the Irish U18s Sevens squad earlier this year and their experience and pace bring an extra dimension to the team.

Given the quality and ability of the current crop of players and the momentum surrounding the development of women’s rugby – with ten new teams this season, bringing the total number of clubs with girls’ teams to 35 in the province – it’s sure to be a great interprovincial series.

Entry is free so why not head to Westmanstown tomorrow for the Munster and Connacht matches or on Saturday, 1 November for the tie against Ulster and support our young girls in blue! Check @Leinsterwomen and our Facebook page for updates.

The players included in the extended squad:

Portlaoise Mullingar Wicklow
Anna O’Neill Jane Leahy Hannah Rose Buckley
Aoife Murphy Katie Heffernan Jessica Hunt
Eimear Corri Sarah Murphy Kayleigh Sullivan
Emma Hooban  Siofra Molloy Lauren Barry
Louise Scully Naas Westmanstown
Muireann Scully Emma Lackey Jenny Bowler
Róisín McWey Madhbh Obrien Molly Scuffil-McCabe
Tara Buggie Millie Sheridan Gorey
Railway Nollaig Maguire Caoimhe molly
Kate Hegarty Navan Daisy Earle 
Lisa Callan Maedbh Smith Kilkenny
Stacey Flood Meaghan Kenny Aoife Brassil
Ashbourne Greystones Portarlington
Sophie Kilburn Rosie Newton Jessica Weiss