CITY of Derry’s Stacey-Lea Kennedy will lead out the Ulster Ladies team this weekend after being named captain for the Inter-Provincial Series which gets underway with the visit of Munster to the Queen’s University Arena pitch on Sunday (kick-off 1.00 pm).
Michael Wilson reports
Derry’s Irish International is joined in Benjy van der Byl’s match day panel by club mates Kellie Holmes (centre) and wing-forward Hannah Kilgore, both of whom will start on the bench against Munster.
Kennedy - who is also expected to be named in the Ireland squad for the 2013 Six Nations competition which gets underway in February - described the Ulster captaincy as an “honour” but admitted she had some reservations about the role.
“The management team asked me in the summer but to be honest I wasn’t sure,” explained Stacey-Lea, “I took a while to think about it and confirmed it with them in September. It’s a nice honour and a role I try to perform naturally but it felt a little odd to have your name formally on the role. Captaining Derry though has helped me and now I’m looking forward to it.”
Despite going into the competition as underdogs and with a relatively inexperienced squad, the Derry player believes Ulster can surprised people.
“Earlier in the season the numbers at training were not great and I was worried but things have picked up and after last night’s training session I’m very positive about this weekend. I honestly think Munster believe they have this game in the bag but last year we ran them close and probably would have won had we had another 10 minutes or so and I believe it will be close again.
“It’s great to have Kelly (Holmes) and Hannah (Kilgore) in the squad. They are both good players and have worked hard to get here but there is also Lizzie Ballentine from Cooke, who played at Derry. The squad is like one big family.
“I have seen the Munster line-up and I know a few of them from the Irish set-up so they may have the edge over us in terms of playing together but I’m still positive. There were a lot of good things in training this week,” she added.