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Friday 20 April 2018

Ireland left disappointed in defeat - but fans revel in the atmosphere

Ireland fans Emer Heslin, from Leitrim, and Jane Fitzpatrick, from Offaly. Picture: Tony Gavin
Ireland fans Emer Heslin, from Leitrim, and Jane Fitzpatrick, from Offaly. Picture: Tony Gavin

Ryan Nugent

A tidal wave of attacks from the French in the first half, coupled with monsoon conditions, left a brave Ireland short as they failed to secure victory.

The Irish side trailed 21-0 at the interval but they trucked on with a rammed UCD Bowl cheering them on.

Katie Norris and Caroline McIntyre, from Donegal, on their way to the match last night.
Photo: Tony Gavin
Katie Norris and Caroline McIntyre, from Donegal, on their way to the match last night. Photo: Tony Gavin

The largest roar of the match came in the dying seconds, when substitute, Cliodhna Moloney crashed over the line.

A 21-5 defeat, but Ireland are set to take on Australia again next week for a place in the 5th place play-off.

It was a frenzy to get into the stadium with cries of "anyone selling tickets?" going around the fanzone.

Among the crowd was Ireland's greatest, Brian O'Driscoll - with Ireland boss Joe Schmidt.

A dejected Jenny Murphy with supporters after the game. Photo: Matt Browne
A dejected Jenny Murphy with supporters after the game. Photo: Matt Browne

Lions star Sean O'Brien was also in the main stand.

Emer Heslin (30), from Leitrim, and her friend Jane Fitzpatrick (25), from Offaly, painted their faces in green, white and orange.

"It's to get into the spirit before we go into the game," Jane said.

"Whatever chants are going (we'll be singing)," she added.

Carnival

It's not Jane's first rugby World Cup, but it's by far and away the most enjoyable.

They may have lost the match, but the Irish definitely tore their French counterparts to shreds when it comes to creating a carnival atmosphere.

"I was at the last one three years ago in France," she said.

"Well they certainly didn't have this set up, they didn't have a fanzone or anything like this, you sat in your seat, watched the game.

"You're already on a buzz here before you get in."

The tournament has already taken the sport to a new level in the country.

The legacy is safe, according to Kate Kirby, from Cork. "It's pretty rare for a women's sporting event (that people are here looking for tickets)," she said.

"It would be lovely to follow them in a quest to win the tournament, but the actual publicity the sport got in the build-up won't be written off... that won't be undone."

Irish Independent

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