Connacht Women will heed little history tomorrow as they open their campaign against Leinster at Galwegians. While recent results favour the visitors, little separated the two in last week's pre-season clash. The only gaps of any consequence to skipper Ruth O'Reilly tomorrow are those she and her colleagues will seek to exploit.
"This is a mobile squad. We have a gameplan to suit that mobility, and we've seen glimpses of it against Ulster and Leinster in the past few weeks.
"We're all confident we can up the ante further and there's no more worthy an occasion than an interpro opener at home," she said.
Buoyed by 2013 Six Nations success and a best ever World Cup finish, Connacht is also riding high. Aside from a Branch contribution, the Women have also secured corporate assistance from Galway-headquartered The City Bin Co.
And while The City Bin Co.'s iconic red colour scheme suggests allegiance to one of the other camps, marketing and online profile manager Oisin Browne said The City Bin Co. allegiance lay firmly with the locals.
"Women's rugby in Ireland is on the up. Our office is full of rugby fans and we share a common thread with these girls in that they're looking to make history, shake up the status quo, and take on the heavyweights. We wish them all the very best for September and we're right behind them," he said.
Forwards coach George Naoupu, a Super Rugby graduate from rugby stronghold Christchurch, has plied his trade to full effect over two stints with Connacht. Charged with steering the Galwegians Women last winter, he and 12 of this year's interpro squad enjoyed All-Ireland club success in 2014's Cup Championship.
"It's a big jump up in standard from club to rep rugby but it's great so many of this squad have tasted national success. You don't win All-Ireland medals by accident and all those involved know what it took to get there.
"They know they've a few fairly serious weeks ahead but they also know how to build a successful result from 80 short minutes of good footy. You do it in the first minute, and you do it through to the last."
Connacht Women’s Squad to face Leinster (15:00 Crowley Park, Dublin Rd, Galway):
15. Emer O Mahony (Tralee RFC)
14. Niamh Ni Droimha (Buccaneers RFC)
13. Emma Clery (Galwegians RFC)
12. Lisa McDonagh (Galwegians RFC)
11. Jill Draper (Tullamore RFC)
10. Nicole Fowley (Sligo RFC)
9. Mary Healy (Galwegians RFC)
1. Laura Feely (Galwegians RFC)
2. Ciara OConnor (Galwegians RFC)
3. Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians RFC) CAPTAIN
4. Rita Breen (NUIG)
5. Marion Sheridan (Tuam RFC/ Galwegians RFC)
6. Grainne Egan (St. Mary’s)
7. Heather Cary (Galwegians RFC)
8. Christine Arthurs (Tralee RFC)
16. Jean Moore (Portlaoise RFC)
17. Edel Durkin (Tuam RFC)
18. Edel McMahon (NUIG/ Galwegians RFC)
19. Darwyn O Halloran (Castlebar RFC)
20. Catriona Cassidy (Portlaoise RFC)
21. Rhona Julian (NUIG)
22. Jacqui Mulligan (Sligo RFC)
Manager Ann Marie Keane
Head Coach Luke O’Donnell
Forwards Coach George Naoupu
S&C Coach Martin Mc Kiernan
Video Analyst James Flaus
Physiotherapist Maria Farrell