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17th Aug 2017

Irish women’s rugby team defeated by France this evening



Ireland pitched into the World Cup battle against France at the UCD Bowl this evening in a winner-takes-a-semi-final-spot battle that had so, so many gripped.

Tom Tierney’s side could secure a last four place, up at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium, by defeating a potent French side. Having already dismantled Japan and Australia, France were out to do some more damage.

Captain Claire Molloy had the Irish side primed, though.

There was a sell-out crowd at UCD and, sitting alongside fellow fans and nail-gnawers, were Iris rugby luminaries such as Brian O’Driscoll, Sean O’Brien, Joe Schmidt and Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek.

Minister for Sport Shane Ross was also in-situ, as was injured Ireland star Niamh Briggs. Ruled out a week before the tournament started, Briggs was nothing but class as she spent much of the countdown to the match posing for pictures with Irish fans and signing autographs.

An Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald was also there to cheer on the girls in green.

For all the good will and support that was on show, France are a serious, serious outfit.

Ireland got into their 22 on a few occasions but, midway through the tie, had nothing to show for it. Their opponents were ruthless and, inspired by centre, Caroline Ladagnous, they raced into a 21-0 lead.

Ireland will travel to Belfast in the coming days but they will not be playing for the main prize, merely as high a finish as possible. France were too good and they have the talent to win this World Cup outright.