20 December 2023

~4 minutes read

Eight Connacht players named in Squad for Rugby’s Celtic Challenge

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Eight Connacht players named in Squad for Rugby’s Celtic Challenge

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/Connacht)

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


2023/24 Celtic Challenge Fixtures:

Wolfhounds v Clovers

Friday, 29 December 2023, Musgrave Park – kick off 4pm


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


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


Wolfhounds v West Wales

Saturday, January 27, 2024, Kingspan Stadium – kick off 7.30pm


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


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

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