MARY Healy, Leinster’s Front Row player from Naas RFC, has been included by Ireland Head Coach, Adam Griggs, in his 28-player squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifier in Italy.
Healy, one of three uncapped players in the squad, who has impressed during the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship in recent weeks. Ireland Women’s Sevens captain Lucy Mulhall and Sam Monaghan, who has come through the IRFU’s IQ Rugby programme, are included for the first time having trained with the extended squad at the IRFU High Performance Centre in recent weeks are the other two uncapped players in the Squad.
Ciara Griffin is set to lead the side as they bid to book their ticket to next year’s global tournament in New Zealand in the qualifying tournament in Parma, as Ireland prepare to go head-to-head with hosts Italy, Spain and Scotland for a place at Rugby World Cup 2021.
Mulhall is one of 12 backs named in the travelling squad, with the likes of Eimear Considine, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Beibhinn Parsons providing Griggs with an array of exciting attacking options for the three-game, round-robin campaign at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
There is plenty of experience among Ireland’s forwards, as Griffin once again captains the squad and Edel McMahon returns to the fold having missed the Women’s Six Nations campaign through injury.
Ireland will face Spain in their opening game on Monday, 13 September (5pm Irish time) before meeting Six Nations rivals Italy in Round 2 on Sunday, 19 September (2pm Irish time) and Scotland in Round 3 on Saturday, 25 September (5pm Irish time). The top team will book a spot in Group B at Rugby World Cup 2021 and the runner up will enter the Final Qualification Tournament.
Commenting on his selection, Griggs said: “This was a difficult selection process with the quality we have in the squad, however we have selected players who have performed consistently well throughout our training camps in the HPC and earned this opportunity.
“It’s an exciting group including a good mix of experienced players who have been involved in big Test matches and understand the detail, preparation and intensity required to win at this level. We are looking forward to heading to Parma and fine-tuning our game for Spain first and foremost.
“While we can only focus on one game at a time, we won’t shy away from the end goal of this being a winner-takes-all tournament for participation at Rugby World Cup 2021. The players and staff are all highly motivated and focused on making sure we are successful as a group.”
Ireland Squad (Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifier):
Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/Munster)(6 caps)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian/Munster)(18)
Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster)(13)
Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)(14)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)(3)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)(3)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College/Munster)(3)
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)(12)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster)*
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)(2)
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)(41)
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Blackrock College/Connacht)(11)
Mary Healy (Naas RFC/Leinster)*
Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)(12)
Laura Feely (Blackrock College/Connacht)(19)
Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/Connacht)(18)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian/Munster)(Captain)(36)
Brittany Hogan (DCU/Old Belvedere/Ulster)(4)
Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster)(3)
Leah Lyons (Harlequins/IQ Rugby)(26)
Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/ Leinster)(16)
Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(9)
Claire Molloy (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(71)
Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(26)
Sam Monaghan (Wasps/IQ Rugby)*
Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/Leinster)(3)
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)(34)
Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/Munster)(7)
*Denotes uncapped at this level
Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifier Schedule:
All games to be played at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
Monday, 13 September:
Spain v Ireland (6pm local time/5pm Irish time)
Sunday, 19 September:
- Italy v Ireland (3pm local time/2pm Irish time)
Saturday, 25 September:
- Ireland v Scotland (6pm local time/5pm Irish time).