West Cork trio named in Ireland’s 36-player squad
UNLIKE the majority, Laura Sheehan won’t be easing herself into 2019.
She’s hitting it head on at full speed.
This weekend, the Urhan woman – along with Skibbereen’s Enya Breen and Timoleague’s Ailbhe Dowling – begins preparation for the 2019 Women’s Six Nations after she was named in 36-player squad before Christmas.
Both Sheehan and Breen were first called into the Irish senior set-up ahead of last November’s internationals against the USA and England.
While a shoulder injury ruled Breen out of the games, Sheehan went on to make an impact as she scored a superb solo try on her debut against the USA at Donnybrook, and a week later the winger started in the loss to England at Twickenham.
It’s no surprise to see Sheehan involved again, and while the competition for places is intense she’s ready to battle for her spot.
‘I’m delighted to be involved,’ Sheehan told The Southern Star.
‘We have a bigger squad now heading into the Six Nations and the Sevens’ girls are back in the squad too so it will be harder than November, but we will put the head down, go hard and hope for the best.
‘We are in camp now for the next four weekends and the fifth weekend will be the first match, against England. We will be training flat out, it will be full on but it’s great to be involved and it’s better to be on that side rather than the outside looking in.
‘Allison Miller is back in too and some of the Sevens’ girls play on the wing so there will be fierce competition for places but these are the players you want to be playing with and training with.
‘I’m looking forward to training with them and seeing how I compare. It will be tough but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.’
Sheehan spent Christmas at home in Urhan and received the perfect gift when she was presented with a Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star monthly award in recognition of her international debut and try-scoring heroics against the USA.
‘It’s a really nice award to receive, I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a great end to the year,’ she said.
‘It was a nice night out with my family too, they’ve supported me so much so it was nice to celebrate the success of the past few months with them.’
She headed back to Dublin on New Year’s Day, gearing up for the camp that starts this weekend and she’ll be joined there by two more West Cork women, Enya Breen from Skibbereen and Ailbhe Dowling from Timoleague.
Both Sheehan and Breen play with UL Bohemians and Munster, while Dowling lines out with Old Belvedere and Leinster.
Second year UL physio student Breen is one of seven uncapped players in Adam Grigg’s side, along with Dowling.
Ireland begin their Six Nations tournament at home in Donnybrook to England on February 1st, followed a week later by a trip to Scotland on February 8th. A trip to Parma to play Italy awaits on February 23rd before a home clash with France on March 9th at Donnybrook, followed by a trip to Wales and the Cardiff Arms Park on St Patrick’s Day.