Lisbellaw's Zara Hutchinson has been named in an extended Ireland U18 Women's 7s squad that will begin their preparations for the Rugby Europe U18 Women's 7s Championships which will take place in Prague on July 23-24.

The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School pupil who plays her club rugby for Clogher Valley is one of four Ulster players who have been selected in the squad of 22 alongside Mia Fergusson (Malone), Emma McCardle (City of Armagh) and Tara O'Neill (Cooke).

Zara, who has played 7s throughout her time at ERGS and scored two tries in the Girls' Schools' Cup final defeat to local rivals Erne Integrated, attended an open trial in Clones back in April.

And some good performances for Ulster in the Inter-Pro 7s Series saw her catch the eye of selectors with her pace and tackling ability.

The squad will participate in two weekend camps at the IRFU’s high Performance Centre in Dublin on the weekends of the 18-19th and 25th-26th June before a reduced squad will travel to France for a two day camp at Marcoussis (2-3rd July), the FFR’s training facility where they will train against their French counterparts.

There will be two further one day camps in July (10th & 17th) before the squad is finalised to travel to Prague for the Rugby Europe Championships.

Katie Fitzhenry, IRFU Women’s Performance Pathway Coach, commented: "This is the first time in a number of years that we have been able to compete in this tournament due to Covid but it has proven to be the starting point for many of our future stars as players such as Beibhinn Parsons, Kate Farrell-McCabe, Megan Burns, Aoibheann Reilly and Dorothy Wall all started their international careers in this tournament.

"There is a strong cohort in the group that gained their first experience of international rugby back in April at the U18 Women’s Six Nations Festival while the recent Underage Interpro 7s Series allowed us to identify new talent in the system. We have a good number of camps over the coming weeks which will help the players prepare for the tournament in Prague and we are really looking forward to getting this programme back up and running."

The countries competing in the Rugby Europe U18 Championship are France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Ukraine.