Aoife Dalton in action last month for the Combined Provinces XV during the Celtic Challenge match against the Welsh Development XV at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Offaly pair in Ireland team for Six Nations opener

Nichola Fryday is set to captain the Ireland women's team for this Saturday's Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff (kick-off 2.15pm) and she will be joined by fellow Offaly native Aoife Dalton.

Dalton - who made her Ireland debut during last summer's tour of Japan - has been selected at outside centre and is set to make her first Six Nations appearance.

Both Kilcormac native Fryday and Dalton from Clara are former players with Tullamore RFC. Dalton, who now plays for Old Belvedere and Leinster, also excelled in Gaelic football during her time in Moate Community School.

Aoife will be joined in the Ireland midfield by the experienced Enya Breen, while second row forward Fryday will be partnered by Sam Monaghan.

There are two uncapped players named in Ireland's match-day squad, 18-year-old Ulster prop Sadhbh McGrath and Leinster's Niamh O'Dowd, who is among the replacements.

Looking ahead to the clash with Wales, Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams said: "The start of a Championship campaign is always an exciting time and we come into this weekend ready to get to task against a strong Welsh side. We have had a good block of preparation and this is the start of the next chapter on our journey, which we started as a group in Japan last summer."

In injury news, meanwhile, Edel McMahon and Aoife Wafer have been unfortunately ruled out of the Championship through injury.

Saturday's match is live on RTÉ2 and the BBC iPlayer.

Ireland team v Wales (TikTok Women's Six Nations)

15. Méabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht), 2 caps

14. Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Munster) 12

13. Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 2

12. Enya Breen (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 16

11. Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 2

10. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) 21

9. Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) 4

1. Sadhbh McGrath (City of Derry/Cooke RFC/Ulster)

2. Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster) 13

3. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 24

4. Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht), captain, 29

5. Sam Monaghan (Gloucester-Hartpury/IQ Rugby) 10

6. Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 16

7. Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 3

8. Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster) 10.


16. Deirbhile Nic a Bháird (Old Belvedere RFC/Munster) 4

17. Niamh O'Dowd (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster

18. Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 5

19. Jo Brown (Worcester Warriors/IQ Rugby) 1

20. Grace Moore (Saracens/IQ Rugby) 5

21. Hannah O'Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 14

22. Dannah O'Brien (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 2

23. Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/Ulster) 1.