Derry duo named in Irish training squad

Glenda Mellon wins this line-out ball for City of Derry Ladies during their match against Cooke Ladies on Sunday. INLS0511-123KM
Glenda Mellon wins this line-out ball for City of Derry Ladies during their match against Cooke Ladies on Sunday. INLS0511-123KM

CIty of Derry duo Stacey-Lea Kennedy and Glenda Mellon (City of Derry) have been named in Ireland Ladies’ Autumn training squad as preparations begin for next year’s Six Nations Championship.

Michael Wilson reports

William Lynn, President of City of Derry Rugby Football Club, making a presentation to Ladies team Player of the Year Stacey Lea Kennedy during the AGM held at Judges Road on Thursday night. Included is ladies team coach, James Doherty, who was presented with an honours plaque INLS2211-176KM

William Lynn, President of City of Derry Rugby Football Club, making a presentation to Ladies team Player of the Year Stacey Lea Kennedy during the AGM held at Judges Road on Thursday night. Included is ladies team coach, James Doherty, who was presented with an honours plaque INLS2211-176KM

Head coach Philip Doyle named a panel of 44 players, chosen from clubs and provinces around the country along with a number of ‘exile’ players who are mainly based in England.

If selected this will be Kennedy’s second season with the international squad after impressing at hooker in last year’s Championship while flanker Mellon will be hoping to gain selection for the first time.

The squad will now begin a 10-week strength and conditioning programme, overseen by the Irish Women squad’s strength & conditioning coach, Ross Callaghan.

Players performance will be continuously monitored over the coming months as they battle it out in the Women’s All-Ireland League which commenced last weekend. The Exiles players, many of whom who are playing in the English Women’s Premiership, will also be monitored regularly.

All players will then be fitness tested in mid-December before the final Six Nations panel of 26 begin training for the upcoming campaign.

Speaking about the selection process, newly-appointed Ireland Women’s team manager Gemma Crowley said it was encouraging to see new players pushing for places.

“It is great to see so many new faces in the mix for this season to compliment the existing talent in the squad,” explained Crowley.

“The performances and impressive skill levels of so many of the players throughout the recent Interprovincial Championship provided a nice headache for Philip (Doyle) and his coaching staff in the selection process.

“We look forward to seeing the ladies work hard over the next few months and wish them all the best of luck with their clubs.”

Squad in full: Christine Arthurs (Tralee); Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins); Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians); Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians); Helen Brosnan (Highfield); Lynne Cantwell (Exile); Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins); Poppy Cleall (Exile/Bristol); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians); Leigh Dargan (Exile); Amy Davis (Blackrock); Grace Davitt (Cooke);Lauren Day (Cooke); Eliza Downey (Cooke); Ailish Egan (Old Belvedere); Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s); Orla Fitzsimmons (St. Mary’s); Laura Guest (Highfield); Laura Hailey (Old Belvedere);Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians); Nat Hewitt (Exile); Shannon Houston (Blackrock); Aisling Hutchings (UL Bohemians); Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians); Stacey-Lea Kennedy (City of Derry)’ Glenda Mellon (City of Derry); Alison Miller (Portlaoise); Claire Molloy (Bristol); Larissa Muldoon (Exile/UWIC); Joy Neville (UL Bohemians); Gill Nolan (St. Mary’s); Deirdre O’Brien (Blackrock); Heather O’Brien (Highfield); Laura O’Mahony (Tralee); Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians);Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere); Geraldine Rea (Highfield); Tania Rosser (Blackrock); Jackie Shiels (Exile); Juliet Short (Exile); Sophie Spencer (Exile); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere); Carol Staunton (Galwegians); Jade Wong (Exile)