Cork’s Lyons leads line for Grand Slam showdown against Three Lions

Cork’s Lyons leads line for Grand Slam showdown against Three Lions

Leah Lyons starts against England in Grand Slam decider.

CORK'S Leah Lyons has been named in Tom Tierney's starting 15 for Ireland's Grand Slam decider against England on Friday (Donnybrook Stadium, 8pm).

The Ballyhooley woman has featured in every game of this Six Nations campaign following her debut in the November series last year, however tomorrow night's clash against the reigning world champions England in Donnybrook, will be the biggest game of her career.

She will be the only Cork player to feature in the highly anticipated Patrick's Day tie, with Highfield's Elaine Anthony and Heather O'Brien missing out on a match day place.

Tierney has made just one change to the team that defeated Wales last weekend, with Larissa Muldoon comes in for Mary Healy at scrum-half.

The remainder of the line-up is unchanged as props Lindsay Peat and Ailis Egan join Lyons in the front row for the fifth successive game.

In the second-row, Sophie Spence will again partner Marie-Louise Reilly, who is set to win her 50th cap for Ireland.

Marie-Louise Reilly In the back-row, flankers Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy pack down with number 8 and captain Paula Fitzpatrick for their sixth consecutive game in a row.

Out-half Nora Stapleton is partnered by Muldoon at half-back, and in the centres, Sene Naoupu will again partner Jenny Murphy.

In the back-three, Alison Miller and Hannah Tyrrell line out on the wings, with Kim Flood at full-back.

England have also made one change. Bristol winger Amy Wilson Hardy is the only change to the starting 15, with Laura Keates hoping to gain her 60th England cap off the bench in place of Sarah Bern. Lydia Thompson, who scored a hat-trick in England’s 0-63 win over Wales, moves to the bench.

Speaking ahead of the, head coach Tom Tierney said: "From our point of view, we have a huge opportunity on St. Patrick's Day and for us it's about looking to rectify some of the areas of our game that we haven't been happy with over the past few weeks and if we can make those small changes, then Friday evening's game should be a great one."

Friday night's match is part of a double-header in Donnybrook, as the Ireland U20s face their English counterparts in the earlier game at 6pm. Both games will be televised by RTÉ2.

Ireland Women v England: K Flood, H Tyrrell, J Murphy, S Naoupu, A Miller, N Stapleton, L Muldoon; L Peat, L Lyons, A Egan, S Spence, ML Reilly, C Griffin, C Molloy, P Fitzpatrick (C). Subs: C O'Connor, I Van Staden, R O'Reilly, C Cooney, N Fryday, M Healy, N Caughey, M Coyne.

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