Offaly quartet in Ireland women's squad for rearranged Six Nations

Four Offaly natives have been included in the Ireland squad for the rescheduled Women’s Six Nations games against Italy and France.

The four players are Ailsa Hughes, Michelle Claffey, Shannon Touhey and Nichola Fryday, with the latter selected among the forwards and the other three in the backs.

Touhey, Hughes and Kilcormac native Fryday have all played for Tullamore RFC. Scrum-half Hughes (pictured above scoring a try for Leinster; photo: IRFU/INPHO) has also represented Offaly in camogie.

In total, Ireland head coach Adam Griggs has named a squad of 36 to play in the remainder of the 2020 Women’s Six Nations games.

Ireland’s final two games of this year’s tournament were postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year.

Ireland will host Italy in their rescheduled Round 4 fixture on the weekend of October 24/25, before concluding the delayed 2020 championship with a trip to France the following weekend. Precise fixture details have still to be confirmed.

Ireland started the tournament well with a home win over Scotland, 18-14. Sene Naoupu and Cliodhna Moloney both got on the scoresheet but it was a 66th-minute intercept try from Beibhinn Parsons that sealed the win. They followed that up with a comfortable 31-12 victory against Wales.

Ireland’s last game before lockdown was a disappointing loss away to a powerful England side who claimed a 27-0 win in Doncaster.

Speaking to irishrugby.ie, Griggs said: “We are picking up where we left off over five months ago. At the outset of this year’s tournament we had clear priorities set. Our aim was to win our three home games and play competitively in our two away games and we felt like we were in a good place before the postponement of the tournament.

"We have stayed connected as a team who trained remotely throughout the lockdown. We have a number of training dates in the schedule ahead of the tournament and it will be good to get together. We have a busy few months ahead of us, and look forward to getting back to playing rugby.”

Meanwhile, the rescheduled Rugby World Cup 2021 qualifiers - which were due to take place in September - will now be played as a single round-robin tournament on the weekends of December 5th, 12th and 19th.

Ireland will be joined in the tournament by Six Nations rivals Scotland and Italy and the winner of the Women’s Rugby Europe Championship 2020, which will be completed in October. The winner of the European Qualifiers will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2021 and the runner-up will progress to the final qualification tournament, which will be organised by World Rugby in 2021.

Women’s Six Nations 2020 - Ireland squad

Backs:

Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/ Munster)

Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/ Leinster)

Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian/ Munster)

Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian/ Munster)

Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/ Ulster)

Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/ IQ Rugby)

Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/ Munster)

Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/ Leinster)

Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/ Leinster)

Claire Keohane (Railway Union/ Munster)

Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/ Leinster)

Ellen Murphy (Blackrock/Leinster)

Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)

Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock/ Connacht)

Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemian/ Munster)

Shannon Touhey (Suttonians/ Connacht)

Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)

Forwards:

Judy Bobbett (Blackrock/ Leinster)

Anna Caplice (Harlequins/ IQ Rugby)

Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/ Leinster)

Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)

Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)

Laura Feeley (Blackrock/ Connacht)

Nichola Fryday (Old Belvedere/ Connacht)

Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian/ Munster)

Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster)

Leah Lyons (Harlequins/ IQ Rugby)

Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/ Leinster)

Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/ Ulster)

Edel McMahon (Wasps/ IQ Rugby)

Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/ IQ Rugby)

Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock/ Leinster)

Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/ Leinster)

Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian/ Munster)

Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/ Leinster)

Dorothy Wall (Railway Union/ Munster)

Women’s Six Nations 2020: Ireland's remaining fixtures

October 24th/25th, Ireland v Italy, TBC.

October 31st/November 1st: France v Ireland, TBC

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