Allez les vertes... 5,000 cheer on Irish rugby women
Published 13/08/2014 | 02:30
Friends, family and Irish people from every corner of the globe are descending on France to cheer on our rugby women as they go for sporting glory.
This evening's semi-final bout with England, now moved to the much-larger Stade Jean Bouin due to the unprecedented interest in this competition, is all that stands between Irish women's rugby and a place in the world cup final.
"Spirits are absolutely fantastic. The girls are very confident and that's the main thing," Mike Briggs, dad of star full-back Niamh, told the Irish Independent.
"They keep saying the work is done - it's only a question of going out and performing now and that's what they'll do."
Mike and family are now part of a 5,000-strong Irish contingent that has invaded Paris, with more on the way.
"My son Shane will hopefully be here for the game as well. He's flying in from Boston, via Dublin, just a few hours before the game.
"It will be a mad rush but we have him on a seat by the exit of the plane and we've tweeted Aer Lingus, so he should make it," he joked.
Mollie O'Donnell and Lisa Anglim, two more intrepid travellers, have been driving their friend's campervan between Paris and Dover since the competition began.
"We've been here with friends but they needed to go back to work so we've done a fair bit of travelling," Mollie, who plays for Munster, explained.
"It's all been worth it and we're really confident we'll do it and proud of what they've done so far." That confidence is mirrored by Tony Bourke, father of Gill. "This team has no fear. They have respect for England, but there is no fear," he said.
All going well, Ireland's final opposition will be either France or Canada who play in the other semi-final - a game which will be refereed by Irish woman Helen O'Reilly.