Ireland Head Coach Greg McWilliams and the National Coaching Team have named a panel of 42 players that will compete in the Celtic Challenge competition against their counterparts from Scotland and Wales.

Leinster’s Hannah O’Connor and Munster’s Enya Breen have been named co-captains for the Celtic Challenge campaign

In the first year of the Celtic Challenge, the Vodafone sponsored Combined Provinces XV will play in two home and two away games over a six-week period. The first game of the competition took place over the weekend with WRU Development XV defeating The Thistles 29-27 at Scotstoun Stadium.

The Combined Provinces XV will play their two home games at Kingspan Stadium, facing the Scottish Thistles on Saturday 4th February and the WRU Development XV on Saturday 18th February.

The Irish sides’ first fixture of the competition is away to their Welsh counterparts this coming Sunday 29th January at the Cardiff Arms Park. The competition concludes four weeks prior to the start of the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations Championship.

Gillian McDarby, IRFU Head of Women’s Performance and Pathways, commented:

“This pilot tournament will give us an opportunity to expose a wider group of players to cross border competition.  We have ambition to grow this competition to include more Irish representative sides over the next three to five years and I am looking forward to seeing how the first edition unfolds over the coming weeks.”

Greg McWilliams, Ireland Head Coach, commented, “This is an exciting new competition that provides a really excellent opportunity for our extended squad of players to prepare for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations and gain valuable competitive experience and exposure to high level competition.

The Celtic Challenge provides us as a national coaching group with a window to work closely with players we’ve been tracking throughout the Women’s Energia All-Ireland League and the recent Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship.

It is an exciting group of players, combining youth and experience, and it will be invaluable for us to come together as a group for an extended period to build cohesion and connections ahead of the Six Nations campaign. We’re looking forward to the challenge over the coming weeks.”

Combined Provinces Squad – 2023 Celtic Challenge

Clara Barrett (Connacht/UL Bohemians RFC)
Sophie Barrett (Ulster/Enniskillen RFC)
Claire Bennett (Munster/UL Bohemians RFC)
Chloe Blackmore (Leinster/Railway Union RFC)
Molly Boyne (Leinster/Railway Union RFC/Dublin University FC)
Natasja Behan (Leinster/Blackrock College RFC)
Enya Breen (Munster/Blackrock College RFC) (Co-Captain)
Megan Louise Collis (Leinster/Railway Union RFC)
Eimear Corri (Leinster/Blackrock College RFC)
Nicole Cronin (Munster/UL Bohemians RFC)
India Daley (Ulster/Cooke RFC/Enniskillen RFC)
Aoife Dalton (Leinster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Meabh Deely (Connacht/Blackrock College RFC)
Orla Dixon (Connacht/Galwegians RFC)
Linda Djougang (Leinster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Anna Doyle (Leinster/Blackrock College RFC)
Aoife Doyle (Munster/Railway Union RFC)
Ella Durkan (Ulster/Blackrock College RFC)
Christy Haney (Leinster/Blackrock College RFC)
Mary Healy (Leinster/Naas RFC/Suttonians RFC)
Emma Hooban (Leinster/Blackrock College RFC)
Ailsa Hughes (Leinster/Railway Union RFC)
Brittany Hogan (Ulster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Jess Keating (Leinster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Maeve Nuala Liston (Ulster/Blackrock College RFC)
Molly Scuffil McCabe (Leinster/Railway Union)
Kelly McCormill (Ulster/Cooke RFC)
Sadhbh McGrath (Ulster/Cooke RFC)
Rachel McIlroy (Ulster/QUB RFC)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Munster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Dannah O’Brien (Leinster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Hannah O’Connor (Leinster/Blackrock College RFC) (Co-Captain)
Niamh O’Dowd (Leinster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Clodagh O’Halloran (Munster/UL Bohemians RFC)
Maeve Og O’Leary (Munster/Blackrock College RFC)
Ella Roberts (Leinster/Wicklow RFC)
Stacey Sloan (Ulster/Cooke RFC)
Leah Tarpey (Leinster/Railway Union RFC)
Fiona Tuite (Ulster/Old Belvedere RFC)
Aoife Wafer (Leinster/Blackrock College RFC)
Kayla Waldron (Connacht/Galwegians RFC)
Dorothy Wall (Munster/Blackrock College RFC)
Katie Whelan (Leinster/Old Belvedere RFC)

Celtic Challenge Fixtures & Results

The Thistles 27 WRU Development XV 29

Sunday 22th January 2023 – Scotstoun Stadium

WRU Development XV v Combined Provinces XV
Sunday 29th January 2023 – Cardiff Arms Park (KO: 11.00am)

Combined Provinces XV v The Thistles
Saturday 4th February 2023 – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast (KO: 4.30pm)

WRU Development XV v The Thistles
Saturday 11th February – Cardiff Arms Park (KO: 4.30pm)

Combined Provinces XV v WRU Development XV
Saturday 18th February 2023 – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, (KO: 4.30pm)

The Thistles v Combined Provinces XV
Saturday 25th February 2023 – DAM Health Stadium (KO: 1.30pm)

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