Former Meath footballer Vikki Wall has signed a contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union and is being integrated into their Sevens programme with the Paris Olympics next year in mind.
The double All-Ireland winner, 25, who also had a spell with North Melbourne in the AFLW, was pictured recently in the Irish jersey after a Sevens tournament.
"Vikki is in the Sevens programme now since the start of August so she is a contracted player," Gillian McDarby, head of women's performance and pathways confirmed this morning.
"Her dream is to go to the Olympics.
"She is making great progress and she will get exposed to game time in the development competitions now in Elche and Marcoussis and we will start to monitor her progress there and whether we bring her into the World Series set-up in Dubai."
The Ireland team qualified for their first every Olympics games last May via the World Rugby Seven Series.
Meanwhile, new XVs head coach Scott Bemand has revealed that number 8 Deirbhile Nic a Bháird will be out for a lengthy spell.
On Tuesday the IRFU named a 30-woman squad for the upcoming WXV3 series in Dubai and said the Munster back row (below), one of Ireland's best performers in last season’s wooden spoon Six Nations campaign, had suffered an injury in a training match.
"Unfortunately, it’s a significant injury. It will take her out for a while," said Bemand. "Possibly [miss the Six Nations next year], we’ll know more in the next few weeks. It’s possible."
The former England Women assistant coach also confirmed new co-captains, forwards Sam Monaghan and Edel McMahon, for the team after experienced lock Nichola Fryday retired, aged 28 from international rugby, at the end of the last season.
Both players are based in England and play with Gloucester-Hartpury and Exeter, respectively.
"They're the right people for the job," said Bemand, "And they're the right people for developing their leadership skills within a developing group."
Sevens stars Béibhinn Parsons and Eve Higgins were also included in the panel for the games against Kazakhstan, Colombia and Spain over three consecutive weekends from 13-28 October.
"The plan is they get reintegrated back into Sevens after Dubai," said McDarby.
"Then, based on the players’ availability, based on what suits them at that moment in time, they’ll be reintegrated back into the Six Nation campaign.
"So as it stands, we are looking at them coming back in but you just don’t know what’s going to happen around the corner but the plan is to integrate players back in."
Meanwhile, Bemand (above), a former Harlequins, Leicester and Bath scrum-half, speaking to the media for the first time since taking over from Greg McWilliams on a three-year contract, outlined his plans for the team, who have lost two captains and two head coaches in recent years.
"Having coached against Ireland Women a few times, you'd never doubt the on-pitch heart and grit and graft," he said.
"We want to capture that but we want to frame it a little bit differently.
"We want to fire some shots on our terms as well. I'm immensely excited by some of the capability we've got within the set-piece, the back-five, and some of the running talent we've got in the backs.
"It's about connecting that up, joining it, and hopefully putting out a brand of rugby that helps grow the game.
"There's a responsibility to grow the game within Ireland so the brand of rugby has got to be fast-paced, exciting, and something people want to go and see."
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