FOUR Limerick-based players have been included in the Ireland Women's Sevens squad to compete in the first leg of the Rugby Europe Women's Sevens Grand Prix in Kazan, Russia this weekend.
Ireland have been drawn in Pool B with hosts Russia, Italy and Belgium.
Ireland 15s captain Niamh Briggs, of UL-Bohemian, will make her first senior Sevens appearance, having competed with the Irish Development side at the Kinsale, Guilford and Amsterdam 7s over the last number of weeks.
Briggs is joined in the squad by her UL-Bohs team mate Louise Galvin who has completed her rehab on a broken leg.
The squad also includes Shannon RFC's exciting talent Aoife Doyle, while Nicole Cronin, also of Shannon RFC, is another Limerick native.
Cronin has successfully recovered from a series of injuries that have hampered her over the last number of months and having come through the Amsterdam 7s, will make her first appearance in a green jersey since last year.
Speaking ahead of the squad departing for Kazan, Director of Sevens and Women's Rugby Anthony Eddy said: "It's a very busy period for the Women's Sevens programme at the moment. We have had teams competing in Clermont, Amsterdam, Guilford and Kinsale over the past number of weeks and it has given important game time to the players.
“The European Championships are a very important fixture on our calendar, with the likes of GB7s, Russia, France and Spain all involved, it's set to be a good test for us.
“The World Series games can be very physical, so we have decided to give some of the players a rest this week, but this will be a great opportunity for the other players coming in to show what they can do.
“With Olympic and World Series qualification on the line in UCD at the end of the month, it's important that we have all of our players in peak condition for that.”
The European Championships will be the final competitive competition the Ireland side will compete in before the Women's Global Olympic Qualifying Tournament takes place in UCD in Dublin on June 25 and 26.
Ireland Womens squad for the Rugby Europe Womens Sevens Grand Prix. Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Niamh Briggs (UL-Bohemians/Munster), Nicole Cronin (Railway Union/Munster), Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Munster), Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster), Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster), Louise Galvin (UL-Bohemians/Munster) Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht), Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster) (Captain), Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Megan Williams (St.Mary's College RFC)