Tom Tierney has named a side to face Scotland on Friday at the Broadway Stadium in Glasgow with a hint of inexperience about it outside of the starting XV.
This Women’s Six Nations starter gives a chance for head coach Tierney to give a first cap to Ailsa Hughes of Railway Union at scrum half.
Three of the players in the replacements, all front-row forwards, are uncapped — Jennie Finlay, Ilse Van Staden, and Ciara O’Connor — while another substitute, Eimear Considine, has also to make a first appearance.
Yet, even though Highfield hooker Leah Lyons makes her first championship appearance alongside Lindsay Peat and Ailis Egan, there is a fair level of experience.
In the second-row, Marie-Louise Reilly will lock-down with St Mary’s College player Orla Fitzsimons.
The back-row will see flankers Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy pack-down with No 8 Paula Fitzpatrick, who will captain the side in the absence of Niamh Briggs, who is continuing her rehab from injury.
In the backline, uncapped Hughes will link-up with experienced out-half Nora Stapleton.
Though Ireland are expected to win, coach Tierney is taking nothing for granted:
“The first game of the Six Nations is always a big challenge, as it’s very difficult to know what the opposition are going to throw at you. Scotland will be looking to give their fans something to get excited about, so it’s really important that we go into the game fully focused.
“There are some new caps in the side; those players have performed really well in the camps that we’ve had over the previous number of weeks, so now it’s their chance to transfer what they’ve been doing in training into the international arena.
“It’s very exciting that all the matches in this year’s Championship will be broadcast live, so we hope everyone will tune in on Friday evening to watch the game.”
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