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22 October 2020

Ireland Head Coach Adam Griggs has named the match day 23 to host Italy in the Women’s Six Nations Championship at Energia Park on Saturday 24th October.

Ulster’s Kathryn Dane has been selected to start at scrum-half for her fourth successive game in this Six Nations campaign. Neve Jones could make her international debut if called upon from the bench, as could Brittany Hogan for her 15s debut – she has featured on the Ireland Sevens circuit.

Dorothy Wall will make her first start for the Ireland Women’s 15s side, having come off the bench in the all three of the competition’s earlier rounds. Joining her in the back row will be Claire Molloy, who will earn her 70th cap for her country, and captain Ciara Griffin.

Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney and Linda Djougang all start in the front row for the fourth game in succession with Nichola Fryday and Ciara Cooney behind them in the second row.

Hannah Tyrell and Kathryn Dane form the half-back partnership with out-half Tyrell making her first start of the campaign.

Enya Breen and Sene Naoupu are the centres while Béibhinn Parsons, Lauren Delaney and Laura Sheehan all link up in the back three.

Griggs says the entire squad are aware that they are part of a select group of people permitted to play competitive rugby at the moment.

“We’ve spoken about it,” says the Head Coach.

“No one across Irish Rugby in the women’s game is actually able to pull on a jersey and play right now and yet here we are already privileged to represent our country and be one of the only teams actually playing in these times.

It’s not lost on us and we want to make sure that we perform really well and give everyone watching something to cheer about come the final whistle.”

As well as Neve Jones and Brittany Hogan, Katie O’Dwyer could make her Ireland debut off the bench.

Leah Lyons and Hannah O’Connor will provide the remaining cover for the pack while Ailsa Hughes, Larissa Muldoon and Katie Fitzhenry will give Coach Griggs further options in the backline. Fitzhenry along with Hannah Tyrell and Brittany Hogan have also featured for Ireland 7s in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020.

Speaking about team selection, Griggs says: “I think the beauty of what we’ve got now is such a competitive wider squad and some of those selections weren’t as straight forward as you think. Some of those players who’ve missed out can take credit for how hard they’ve pushed these girls.”

Ireland Team & Replacements (v Italy, Energia Park, Saturday 24th October 2020, KO 18.30, Women’s Six Nations Championship), live on RTE2:

Player/Club/Province/Caps –
15. Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/ IQ Rugby) 11 caps
14. Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemian/ Munster) 3 caps
13. Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/ Munster) 7 caps
12. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster) 37 caps
11. Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College/ Connacht) 7 caps
10. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/ Leinster) 16 caps
9. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/ Ulster) 9 Caps

1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/ Leinster) 30 caps
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/ IQ Rugby) 22 caps
3. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/ Leinster) 8 caps
4. Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/ Connacht) 14 caps
5. Ciara Cooney (Wasps / IQ Rugby) 21 caps
6. Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/ Munster) 3 caps
7. Claire Molloy (Wasps / IQ Rugby) 69 caps
8. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian/ Munster) (capt) 32 caps

16. Neve Jones (Malone/ Ulster)*
17. Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/ Leinster)*
18. Leah Lyons (Harlequins/ IQ Rugby) 24 caps
19. Brittany Hogan (DCU/Old Belvedere/ Ulster)*
20. Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College/ Leinster) 1 cap
21. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/ Leinster) 11 caps
22. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/ Leinster) 47 caps
23. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College/ Leinster) 13 caps

* Denotes uncapped player at this level