Connacht Women open their new season with a tough task in Leinster at Energia Park on Saturday (5.30pm ) in the 2019 Women's Interprovincial Championship.
New head coach Brian McClearn has named a 34-player squad for this year's championship, with Nichola Fryday named as captain, and fellow Irish international Mary Healy selected as vice-captain.
Fans will get one chance to see two Connacht teams in action when they host Munster on August 24 (3pm ) at the Galway Sportsground, preceded by the U18s interprovincial at 1pm. The final round robin sees Connacht head to Queens University to face Ulster on August 31.
The new competition structure includes two semi-finals (September 14 ) and the final and third-placed play-off September 21 - based on each team’s finishing position in the round robin.
Brian McClearn says the squad is well prepared for the upcoming month of action.
“Preparations have been going very well since we started training earlier in the summer. As with any new management team, we have been keen to implement our philosophy as quickly as possible and the squad have responded well to it so far," he says.
International Alison Miller is involved as a player/coach, Connacht scrumhalf Stephen Kerins is the backs coach, and Mark Moran remains team manager.
McCLearn says he has selected a squad with a blend of youth and experience that he believes can have a "big say in this interpro series".
"Plenty of our players know what these interpros are all about, but we have also included a number of players who were a part of last season’s U18 girls squad that won the interprovincial title. They have added a lot to our sessions and I’m glad to have them on board."
2019 Connacht Rugby Women’s squad: Forwards, Lily Brady (Westport RFC ),Tara Buggie (Galwegians RFC ),Lisa Carroll (Westport RFC ),Ciara Farrell (Tullamore RFC ),Kate Feehan (Westport RFC ),Laura Feely (Galwegians RFC ), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians RFC ), Moya Griffin (Tullamore RFC ), Jessica Loftus (Westport RFC ), Edel McMahon (Galwegians RFC ), Elizabeth McNicholas (Tuam RFC ), Katie Murray (Tullamore RFC ), Aifric O’Brien (Suttonians RFC ), Alex O’Brien (Tullow RFC ), Niamh O’Grady (Westport RFC ), Nicola Caldbeck (Tullow RFC ), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Galwegians RFC ), Denise Redmond (Galwegians RFC ), Backs, Aisling Brosnan (Carlow RFC ), Rachel Cox (Westport RFC ), Mairead Coyne (Galwegians RFC ), Meabh Deely (Ballinasloe RFC ), Orla Dixon (Galwegians RFC ), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians RFC ), Rebecca Gavin (Westport RFC ), Mary Healy (Galwegians RFC ), Shannen Lane (Galwegians RFC ), Catherine Martin (Suttonians RFC ), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere RFC ), Hazel Moran (Westport RFC ), Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe RFC ), Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe RFC ), Ursula Sammon (Galwegians RFC ), Shannon Touhey (Galwegians RFC ).