Sligo’s Aoife McDermott named in Irish squad for Wales game

Aoife McDermott is set to make her international debut for the Irish senior women’s team in Sunday’s Six Nations game against Wales.

The Riverstown native has been named on the replacements bench for the game, which kicks-off in Donnybrook at 3pm.

The second-row forward, who plays her club rugby with Railway Union in Dublin, only made the switch to rugby at the end of 2016, following a distinguished basketball career, that also saw her represent Ireland at senior level.

Donegal’s Laura Feely has also been listed among the replacements for Sunday’s game.

There are four personnel changes and two positional switches to the side that overcame Italy in their last match. Ciara O’Connor and Leah Lyons, who both featured off the bench in the opening rounds of the tournament, start alongside Lindsay Peat in the front row. It will be O’Connor’s first international start at hooker, having started at tighthead prop previously against Japan in the World Cup.

Nichola Fryday is partnered in the second row by Orla Fitzsimons whose St. Mary’s club-mate Paula Fitzpatrick reverts to number 8 to accommodate the change, while captain Ciara Griffin moves to the blindside. Claire Molloy completes the back row trio.

There is one change in the back-line with Ulster’s Claire McLaughlin starting on the left wing in place of the injured Alison Miller. She is joined in the back-three by Megan Williams, who scored her first international try against the Italians, and full-back Kim Flood.

Sene Naoupu and Katie Fitzhenry will again line out together in the centre, with Niamh Briggs and Ailsa Hughes starting their third successive Championship game at half-back. Molloy and Briggs will be making their 60th appearances for Ireland this weekend.

Tickets for the Ireland Women’s home matches at Donnybrook are available now via

IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Wales Women, 2018 Womens Six Nations Championship, Donnybrook, Sunday, February 25, kick-off 3pm):

15. Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
14. Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
13. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
11. Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
10. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht)
3. Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)

4. Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Tullamore/Connacht)
6. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster)


16. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
17. Laura Feely (Galweigians/Connacht)
18. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
19. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster) *
20. Edel McMahon (Galwegians/Connacht)
21. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
22. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster)
23. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

* Denotes uncapped player at this level