Offaly woman to represent Ireland in 6 Nations

WALSH Island's Niamh Kavanagh has been named on the Irish Women's team for the opening game of the Six Nations Championship against Italy.

WALSH Island's Niamh Kavanagh has been named on the Irish Women's team for the opening game of the Six Nations Championship against Italy.

The flying winger is one of two uncapped players in Philip Doyle's starting 15 and is one of five UL Bohemians players in the starting line-up. Niamh's club-mate Fiona Coghlan will captain the side.

Ireland open their campaign against Italy in Rovigo, on Sunday February 6, and will again make Ashbourne RFC in Meath their home for the tournament.

They have home games against France and England with trips ahead to Scotland and Wales.

Niamh is following in the footsteps of her brother Anthony who also represented Ireland at international level. The back row forward captained the Ireland U-19 side in 2003.

Looking forward to the Championship, Irish skipper Fiona Coghlan said: "We've lost some players through retirement and injury, so I think we have to be realistic with a lot of new girls coming in.

"There's a huge eagerness for the girls to learn, and there's huge potential. Once they get into the flow of the games, they'll really develop.

"With the Italians, they're a team we never know much about from one year to the next. They're always a side we struggle to play well against - they implement the gameplan that they want, and it takes us a while to get around it.

"Away from home, it's never going to be easy. But I think if we just knuckle down and play the right gameplan, hopefully we'll get off to a winning start."