Claire Molloy has returned to the Ireland squad for next month's re-scheduled Women's Six Nations fixtures, providing Head Coach Adam Griggs with a boost heading into the back-to-back games against Italy and France.
The former Ireland captain, who last year took a sabbatical from international rugby to focus on her medical career, will link up with the squad for a two-day training camp at the IRFU High Performance Centre this weekend, as Ireland step up their preparations for the visit of Italy to Energia Park on Sunday 25th October (Kick-off 1pm).
While the availability of the 69-time capped international is a fillip for Ireland ahead of a busy Autumn schedule, back row duo Edel McMahon and Claire McLaughlin and second row Aoife McDermott have unfortunately been ruled out of the Women's Six Nations period through injury.
Head Coach Griggs has named a 34-player squad ahead of the first two-day camp as Ireland build towards the conclusion of the 2020 Championship and beyond to December's Rugby World Cup 2021 European Qualifiers.
"While it’s an unfortunate setback and timing for Edel, Aoife and Claire, they are all highly motivated and diligent players who I know will get stuck into the rehab and get themselves back fit and in contention for the World Cup Qualifiers," Griggs said.
"The squad have made major strides over the last year and there is healthy competition for places. Each two-day camp now gives us an opportunity to focus on lifting our intensity and the quality of our training, where we will challenge the players to replicate match like demands so that come the end of October we are ready to perform and keep the standards we set out at the start of this competition."
Ireland return to action with a Round 4 clash against Italy before travelling to Lille to face France on Sunday 1st October (Kick-off 1.30pm). The Rugby World Cup 2021 European Qualifiers are scheduled to be played as a single round-robin tournament on the weekends of 5th, 12th and 19th December.
Ireland Squad For Women's Six Nations:
Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College/ Leinster)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/ Ulster)
Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/ IQ Rugby)
Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/ Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College/ Leinster)
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/ Leinster)
Claire Keohane (Railway Union/ Munster)
Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/ Leinster)
Ellen Murphy (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College/ Connacht)
Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Shannon Touhey (Suttonians/ Connacht)*
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
Judy Bobbett (Blackrock College/ Leinster)
Anna Caplice (Harlequins/ IQ Rugby)
Ciara Cooney (Wasps / IQ Rugby)
Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
Laura Feely (Blackrock College/ Connacht)
Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/ Connacht)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster)*
Leah Lyons (Harlequins/ IQ Rugby)
Claire Molloy (Wasps / IQ Rugby)
Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/ IQ Rugby)
Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College/ Leinster)
Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/ Leinster)*
Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/ Leinster)
Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/ Munster).
- Ireland v Italy, Sunday 25th October, 1pm, Energia Park
- France v Ireland, Sunday, Sunday 1st October, 2.30pm (1.30pm Irish time), Le Stadium, Villeneuve d’Ascq.