Munster have dominated Leinster in recent years, but the province’s head coach Adam Griggs believes his side are ready to buck that trend in today’s ladies’ interprovincial title decider at Donnybrook (2.30pm).
“The last two or three years that Munster have won the title, it has come down to beating us. A few of the girls, the more experienced girls, have played in those matches and know how difficult they are and they know what this fixture is about.”
The 31-year-old Kiwi has been impressed with Munster’s two wins over Ulster and Connacht this year and has emphasised the importance in nullifying the Red Army’s area of strength: the set-piece.
“We are looking at their lineout and driving maul as areas to focus on. We know how strong they are there and in the scrum too, it’s the true Munster way.”
Griggs has made just two changes from last week’s 46-0 win over Ulster with Maria Kenny replacing international Kim Flood at full back while Juliet Short is promoted from the bench to the openside flanker berth, meaning captain Ciara Morey moves blindside.
In the Munster team, injury to the influential playmaker Valerie Power has forced the champions to make a change at out-half with Ireland 7s star Claire Keohane wearing the 10 jersey. At flanker, Ciara Griffin’s outstanding display off the bench last weekend has earned her a start. Anna Caplice switches to the second-row with Chloe Pearse dropping to the bench while in the front row, Fiona Reidy replaces her namesake Hayes at loosehead prop. Griggs believes the return of internationals Marie Louise O’Reilly, Hannah Tyrell and Paula Fitzpatrick was key in the stunning win over Ulster and he again calls on their experience as Leinster look to claim their first title since 2013.
“In the Ulster game, we had a helping hand with all the more experienced girls returning to the team. We had all our best AIL girls out there so that experience definitely helped in winning so well and should go a long way against Munster.”
Meanwhile, third-place Connacht, still in with a chance of the title, have made three changes with Alison Miller (left wing), Valerie Mitchell (lock) and Nichola Fryday (number 8) replacing Jill Draper, Marion Sheridan and Heather Cary.
M Kenny (Old Belvedere); E Corri (Blackrock), J Murphy (Old Belvedere), M Claffey (Blackrock), K Fitzhenry (Blackrock); H Tyrrell (Old Belvedere), A Hughes (Railway Union); L Peat (Railway Union), J Finlay (Railway Union), J Mahon (Blackrock), M Reilly (Old Belvedere), S Fogarty (Railway Union); C Morey (Blackrock) (capt), J Short (Railway Union), P Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s).
C Molloy (Gorey), C Maloney (Railway Union), F O’Brien (Old Belvedere), K Norris (Blackrock), K McCarthy (Railway Union), N Griffin (Blackrock), N Byrne (Railway Union), M Kenny (Navan).
E Murphy (UL Bohemians RFC); D Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians RFC), N Kavanagh (UL Bohemians RFC), N Scully (Highfield RFC), E Considine (UL Bohemians RFC); C Keohane (UL Bohemians RFC), E Murphy (Highfield RFC); F Reidy (UL Bohemians RFC), G Bourke (UL Bohemians RFC), L Lyons (Highfield RFC); O Buckley (Highfield RFC), A Caplice (UL Bohemians RFC); S Fleming (Tralee RFC) (capt.), C Griffin (Tralee RFC), H O’Brien (Highfield RFC)
Z Grattage (Highfield RFC), F Hayes (UL Bohemians RFC), N O’Connor (Tralee RFC), E Anthony (Highfield RFC), C Pearse (UL Bohemians RFC), M Fehily (Highfield RFC), Á Staunton (UL Bohemians RFC), L Sheehan (Highfield RFC)
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