Ireland captain Nichola Fryday not among first batch of professional contracts

Names of 29 contracted women confirmed as IRFU announces interpro dates

The IRFU has confirmed the list of women contracted to its high performance programme with younger players and those already on Sevens deals most prominent among the 29-strong contingent. As expected after IRFU performance director David Nucifora revealed four England-based players had rejected contracts, big names such as captain Nichola Fryday, Sam Monaghan and Neve Jones are not included as they look set to continue playing in the Premier 15s.

Alongside the likes of Beibhinn Parsons and Aimee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, who had previously been playing on Sevens contracts, 2021 players’ player of the year Dorothy Wall is among those to sign a new deal as Enya Breen, Natasja Beehan, Méabh Deely, Leah Tarpey, Kathryn Dane, Maeve Óg O’Leary and Kayla Waldron all also put pen to paper.

Young Old Belvedere outhalf Dannah O’Brien, who impressed on the summer tour to Japan, is also among the contracted players.

Prop Linda Djougang, who had spent last season playing in France with ASM Romagnat after giving up her job as a nurse, returns to Ireland and is named among the newly contracted players.


Nucifora last week announced that the union had offered 37 contracts ranging from €15,000-€30,000 in value. He also revealed an ambition to enter an Irish team in a cross-border Celtic Cup due to take place in January and February.

Before then, the dates for the 2023 interpro series have also been confirmed with the competition being played on three consecutive weekends starting on January 7th. The first round sees Leinster take on Connacht and 2021 champions Munster square off to Ulster.

TV details for the AIL final have also been confirmed with TG4 showing the fixture on Friday, December 9th with a 7.45pm kick off. No broadcast has been announced for the interpros.

Contracted players for 2022/23

Kathy Baker, Natasja Beehan, Claire Boles, Enya Breen, Megan Burns, Aoife Dalton, Kathryn Dane, Méabh Deely, Linda Djougang, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Kate Farrell McCabe, Stacey Flood, Katie Heffernan, Eve Higgins, Brittany Hogan, Erin King, Lucinda Kinghan, Emily Lane, Anna McGann, Lucy Mulhall, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Dannah O’Brien, Maeve Óg O’Leary, Beibhinn Parsons, Aoibheann Reilly, Leah Tarpey, Aoife Wafer, Kayla Waldron, Dorothy Wall.

Interpro schedule

Round 1: January 7th/8th – Leinster v Connacht; Munster v Ulster

Round 2: January 14th/15th – Munster v Leinster; Ulster v Connacht

Round 3: January 21st/22nd – Connacht v Munster; Ulster v Leinster

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist