Greg McWilliams adds seven to Ireland squad for England Six Nations clash – but still no place for Cliodhna Moloney


An expanded Ireland women’s squad has been put together by head coach Greg McWilliams for a one-day camp at the IRFU High Performance Center ahead of this weekend’s Women’s Six Nations clash against England in Leicester.

A group of 33 players trained in Dublin in preparation for Sunday’s fourth-round match at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, with McWilliams adding seven players to his panel for the remainder of the 2022 Championship.

Laura Feely, Laura Sheehan, Mary Healy, Shannon Touhy, Sene Naoupu and uncovered Leinster pair Niamh Byrne and Alice O’Dowd were called up for the final two rounds.

However, there is still no place for Cliodhna Moloney, who was controversially left off the original panel for the tournament, although assistant Irish coach Rob Sweeney recently stated that the door was not closed on a return for the Wasps hooker.

The extended Ireland Women’s XVs squad will prepare for Sunday at the IRFU High Performance Center tonight before traveling to Leicester on Thursday morning. The McWilliams squad will then train on Thursday and Friday ahead of Saturday’s Captain’s Run at Welford Road, England.

“We had a really productive training camp on Saturday where we put in a lot of work on and off the pitch,” said McWilliams. “Unfortunately we have to do without Sam and Aoife this weekend due to injuries.

“David (Nucifora), Aiden (McNulty) and I have spoken regularly about selection and we believe we have the right balance for this window knowing there is further development opportunity for the XVs roster, with more advanced ones Plans set the stage for a Summer Tour with two Tests in August and the key qualifiers for the Sevens program in the same period.

“There are a number of players who had to wait in the first three rounds of the Six Nations and now have the opportunity to claim the green jersey. We have a good group of players in camp now,” a nice mix of Experience and players who impressed me throughout the Energia All-Ireland League season and after our win over Italy are determined to end the league with strong performances.”

McWilliams will call his Ireland matchday 23 to face England on Friday midday.

Sam Monaghan and Aoife Wafer will both be out through injury, while Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall, Anna McGann, Eve Higgins, Brittany Hogan, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Beibhinn Parsons were reinstated in the Ireland Sevens last week.

These players returned to training with the National Sevens team at the IRFU High Performance Center as Ireland prepare for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series from 30 April to 1 May. The Langford tournament is her first World Series tournament since winning a historic silver medal in Seville in January.

The Sevens side have a challenging summer schedule ahead of them, with the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying journey starting at the Rugby European Championship in July before McNulty’s side attempt to qualify for September’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.

McNulty will finalize his selection for the Canada leg of the World Series later this week.

Ireland Women’s Squad:

Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Alice O’Dowd (UCD/Leinster)

Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)

Aoife McDermott (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Muenster)

Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC/Muenster)

Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Münster)

Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)

Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Münster)

Emma Hooban (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Enya Breen (UL Bohemian RFC/Münster)

Grace Moore (Railway Union RFC/IQ Rugby)

Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)

Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Laura Feely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)

Laura Sheehan (Exeter Chiefs/IQ Rugby)

Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster)

Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Münster)

Mary Healy (Naas/Suttonians/Leinster)

Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Neve Jones (Gloucester Hartpury/Ulster)

Niamh Byrne (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht) (Captain)

Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Münster)

Nikki Caughey (RFC/Leinster Railway Union)

(12pm kick-off, live on Virgin Media Two/BBC Two/BBC iPlayer)

Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Shannon Touhey (Tullamore/Connacht)

Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby).

England v Ireland (kick-off 24 April at 12pm, live on Virgin Media Two/BBC Two/BBC iPlayer) Greg McWilliams adds seven to Ireland squad for England Six Nations clash – but still no place for Cliodhna Moloney

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