Lucy in sevens heaven after Irish see off France
The Ireland women's sevens rugby team rounded off a hugely successful season with a win over France in The European Sevens Grand Prix Series tournament in Kazan, Russia, at the weekend.
The win gave Ireland a third place finish in the tournament and a second place finish over the two European competitions, ensuring that they secured their place in the 2018 Women's Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.
It's a long way to come for a team who were ranked as low as 8th in Europe just three short seasons ago.
The period has coincided with the emergence of Tinahely and Wicklow star Lucy Mulhall as a key player and captain of the side and Lucy was once more to the fore for the women in Kazan.
Mulhall scored a try, added a number of conversions and was integral in setting up a number of tries in the final win against France.
Lucy said that both she and the team were delighted with the win and that it has capped what's been a brilliant and highly successful year for the sevens side.
"To go out and play so well all week was really pleasing and it shows the consistency of performance in the team as well as it backed up our earlier 3rd place finish on the European circuit,' she said.
'We were disappointed after the semi-final loss to Russia but what was really pleasing is that we saved our best performance for last in a game that really mattered. France are a top class side so to beat them 40 to nil and secure our place in the World Cup next year is great."
Mulhall said that the team seems to be in a really good place and that they aim to go on and improve again next year.
"Personally I was rested for the tournament in Ferrand, France two weeks ago so I felt fresh and ready from the start of the week but I think generally there was a really good vibe in the camp which has been there ever since I started out with the team.
'We're a close knit group and we all get on really well off the pitch which helps no end in the pressure situations of big tournaments but is also great because you can enjoy the success, if it comes, with great friends which makes it all even more worthwhile.
"We're a long way from the finished article but we are definitely heading in the right direction at the moment so we just have to keep pushing on and improving in each tournament.
'Securing the place in the World Cup is massive and gives us something to really build towards but we know we have a lot of work to do before we get there if we're to stand a chance and then to build again towards Tokyo in 2020.
"We'll enjoy what we've achieved for now and it's been a great season but we have to continue on next year and strive to improve again.
"It's a challenge we're all looking forward to and it really is a great game as so much can happen in those 14 minutes on the pitch, so we'll be doing all we can continue our success."