Two Irish Squads to Compete in Celtic Challenge Announced

20 December 2023

Two Irish Squads to Compete in Celtic Challenge Announced

The Clovers and Wolfhounds squads have been named for the Celtic Challenge and both teams will have a chance to impress in the opening match of the tournament which launches on Friday, 29 December 2023 in Musgrave Park.

The two Irish teams competing in this year’s competition will see two provinces combining namely; Connacht and Munster (Clovers), and Leinster and Ulster (Wolfhounds).  In order to provide quality game time and positional cover, there will also be some crossover with the provincial players.

Included in the squads are a mix of Ireland internationals and players from the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League.

The backroom teams for this season’s Celtic Challenge squads were recently announced and the tournament will be expanded to include two teams from each Union with a total of six teams competing across the Celtic nations.

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

“The Celtic Challenge is an integral tournament for the development of Women’s rugby players in Ireland and will play a significant role in the player pathway moving forward.”

“Players named within the Clovers and Wolfhound squads have come through our rugby pathways. The Celtic Challenge competition provides players the opportunity to be exposed to a high performance training environment supported by our National Coaches and Management Teams. The competition structure will support their development and ensure that players are in the best position to compete in the Women’s Six Nations.”

This season’s tournament will span an 11-week period and will culminate on Sunday, 3 March 2024, with all Irish home games played across 3 venues; Musgrave Park, Energia Park and Kingspan Stadium. The competition will adopt a new format which will be made up of five rounds. Round 1 will see a derby day clash for the home Unions with their respective sides facing off for the first time.

The play-offs will be made up of three rounds, with each round being hosted by a Home Union as a double-header event. The fixtures, which will be determined by the regular round standings, will be the culmination of the competition's most competitive fixtures as teams go head to head to be crowned this season's winners.

Tickets for all home games can be purchased through the provinces.

2023/24 Celtic Challenge Squads:



Lily Brady (UL Bohemians/Connacht)

Clare Bennett (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Beth Buttimer (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Eilis Cahill (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Ruth Campbell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Jane Clohessy  (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Brianna Heylman (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Eva McCormack (UL Bohemians/Connacht)

Sadhbh McGrath (Cooke/Ulster)

Jane Neill (Galwegians/Leinster)

Maeve Óg O'Leary (Blackrock/Munster)

Niamh O Dowd (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig/Munster)

Faith Ovawie (Railway Union/Connacht)

Shannon Touhey (Tullamore/Connacht)

Dorothy Wall (Blackrock/Munster)


Clara Barrett (UL Bohemians/Connacht)

Ellen Boylan (Blackrock/Munster)

Aoife Corey (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Maebh Deely (Blackrock/Connacht)

Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/Munster)

Kate Flannery (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Clare Gorman (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)

Laoise McGonagle (UL Bohemians/Connacht)

Alana McInerney (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Michelle O’Driscoll (Ballincollig/Munster)

Chisom Ugwueru (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Kayla Waldron (Railway Union/Connacht)



Head Coach - Denis Fogarty

Assistant Coach - Niamh Briggs

Development Coach - Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird 

Physio - Ciaran Purcell

S&C Coach - Lorna Barry

Team Manager - Natalie Fox

Physio - Ciaran Purcell

S&C Coach - Lorna Barry




Sophie Barrett (Railway Union/Ulster)

Molly Boyne (Railway Union/Leinster)

Keelin Brady (Railway Union/Ulster)

Maebh Clenaghan (Queens University/Ulster)

Megan Collis (Railway Union/Leinster)

Eimear Corri (Blackrock/Leinster)

India Daley (Blackrock/Ulster)

Sarah Delaney (Blackrock/Leinster)

Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Christy Haney (Blackrock/Leinster)

Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere/Ulster)

Aoife Moore (Blackrock/Leinster)

Eadain Murtagh (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Hannah O'Connor (Blackrock/Leinster)

Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere/Ulster)

Aoife Wafer (Blackrock/Leinster)



Natasja Behan (Blackrock/Leinster)

Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Leinster)

Aimee Clarke (Railway Union/Leinster)

Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Ella Durkan (Blackrock/Ulster)

Jade Gaffney (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Niamh Marley (Cooke/Ulster)

Erin McConnell (Wicklow/Leinster)

Kelly McCormil (Cooke/Ulster)

Dannah O'Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Ava Ryder (Railway Union/Connacht)

Leah Tarpey (Railway Union/Leinster)

Katie Whelan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)



Head Coach Neil Alcorn

Assistant Coach Michelle Claffey

Development Coach Judy Bobbett

S&C Coach - Greg Hollins

Physio - Naomi Hamilton

Team Manager - Marianne Breen 

S&C Coach - Greg Hollins

Physio - Naomi Hamilton


2023/24 Celtic Challenge Fixtures:

Wolfhounds v Clovers
Friday, 29 December 2023, Musgrave Park – kick off 4pm
(Purchase Tickets Here)

Edinburgh Rugby v Wolfhounds        
Saturday 6th January 2024, Hive Stadium – kick off 2pm

Clovers v West Wales
Saturday, January 06, 2024, Energia Park – kick off 2.30pm
(Purchase Tickets Here)

Glasgow Warriors v Wolfhounds       
Saturday 13th January 2024, Scotstoun Stadium – kick off 2pm

Clovers v East Wales  
Sunday, January 14, 2024, Musgrave Park – kick off 1pm
(Purchase Tickets Here)

Wolfhounds v West Wales    
Saturday, January 27, 2024, Kingspan Stadium – kick off 7.30pm
(Purchase Tickets Here)

Glasgow Warriors v Clovers   
Saturday 27th January 2024, Scotstoun Stadium – kick off 2pm

Wolfhounds v East Wales      
Saturday, February 03, 2024, Energia Park – kick off 2.30pm
(Purchase Tickets Here)

Edinburgh Rugby v Clovers    
Saturday 3rd February 2024, Hive Stadium – kick off 12:30pm


Play off Fixtures;
Saturday 17, February 2024, Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday, February 24, 2024, Kingspan Stadium

Sunday, March 03, 2024, Parc y Scarlets Stadium