THREE UL-Bohemian players will start for Ireland in this evening’s historic IRB Women’s World Cup semi-final clash with England in Paris, 5pm, Irish time.
Niamh Briggs has been selected to at full-back for Ireland, while her UL-Bohs clubmate Fiona Coghlan will captain the side from loosehead prop. Coughlan is joined in the front row by Ballyneety’s Gillian Bourke.
A fourth UL-Bohs player, Limerick prop, Fiona Hayes has been named among the replacements for the crunch clash at the Stade Jean Bouin. Hayes started in Ireland’s
Irish coach Philip Doyle has named the same side that scored a famous victory over four-time World Cup winners, New Zealand in their second pool fixture.
Limerick-based garda Niamh Briggs, who was rested for Saturday’s pool victory over Kazakhstan, has been in inspirational form for Ireland during the pool stages of the World Cup, scoring 25 points and making a stunning break which led to Ireland’s crucial second try in their stunning win over the Black Ferns.
Ireland went on to secure their place in the semi-finals for the first time win with that bonus point win over Kazakhstan.
Looking ahead to tonight’s semi-final, head coach Doyle said: “We have had a fantastic campaign so far and that has only come from hard work and dedication. We don’t intend for it to end here.”
Ireland first featured in the World Cup stage in 1994 and have never finished higher than seventh place in the tournament.
Seeded second in the world, England have been in five finals since the inaugural competition in 1991 and claimed victory in 1994 beating USA 38-23 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In 2013 Ireland beat England in the for the first time in their history in the Six Nations and that year went on to claim the Grand Slam title.
They last played England in March in this year’s Six Nations where they narrowly lost out by a 17-10 margin in Twickenham.
Tonight’s World Cup semi-final will be televised live on TG4 and Sky Sports 4. Canada meet hosts France in the second semi final tomorrow night at 7.45pm.