Wednesday 19 June 2019

Griffin not looking for excuses as Ireland outclassed by England

Ireland Women 7 England Women 51

Claire Molloy of Ireland in action against Katy Daley-Mclean of England. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Claire Molloy of Ireland in action against Katy Daley-Mclean of England. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

A one-sided scoreline that ultimately reflects exactly where Ireland and England are at right now - this was a contest that highlighted the considerable gap that was always likely to exist between an amateur and a fully-professional outfit.

England were bigger, faster and stronger all over but amidst the defeat, there were signs of encouragement.

Eimear Considine of Ireland is tackled by Tatyana Heard of England. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Eimear Considine of Ireland is tackled by Tatyana Heard of England. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

For one, the Ireland scrum was dominant throughout while Linda Djougang, Anne Marie O'Hora and Kathryn Dane won their first international caps to deepen the talent pool.

In Claire Molloy, the hosts had an outstanding performer, while Laura Feely deserves immense credit for the manner in which she contributed at scrum time.

Eight tries to one, however, told its own story as a classy England side eased to victory in front of a record crowd of 4,367 for a women's game at Donnybrook in ruthless fashion.

"That's the reality of the professional and the amateur game but I suppose we can't use that as an excuse either," disappointed captain Ciara Griffin insisted.

Aoife McDermott of Ireland in action against Catherine ODonnell of England. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Aoife McDermott of Ireland in action against Catherine ODonnell of England. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

"We need to put in a better performance too. They are a professional side, they have more time together but we have been together as well. We have to play to our strengths and not beat ourselves. Unfortunately our discipline let us down at times.

"Unfortunately for us, we didn't perform in all of the areas that we wanted to but that's for us to look back on and review."

Ireland had started brightly and off a well-worked lineout move, Michelle Claffey powered through a gaping hole, only to be hauled down short of the line.

It was an early warning sign for the visitors, which sparked them into life because after four minutes they opened their account when Jess Breach showed a clean pair of heels to score in the corner.

Tatyana Heard of England is tackled by Lauren Delany of Ireland. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Tatyana Heard of England is tackled by Lauren Delany of Ireland. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland regained their composure and as they began to get parity at scrum-time, they grew in confidence.

England's power at the breakdown was obvious but they were repeatedly met by the immovable force that is Molloy.

Ireland were doing well to withstand the England pressure but when they conceded a penalty under their own posts, Katy Daley-McClean had the easy task to push her side into an 8-0 lead midway through the opening half.

England would have been in for their second try shortly after but for a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Lauren Delany on Breach.

Sarah Bern of England goes over to score her side's third try despite the challenge of Ailsa Hughes of Ireland. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Sarah Bern of England goes over to score her side's third try despite the challenge of Ailsa Hughes of Ireland. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Just before the half-hour mark however, the pressure told and Sarah McKenna dotted down for a 13-0 advantage.

Ireland had Aoife McDermott to thank for that half-time score not being worse as the former basketball international used all off her frame to stop Breach scoring.

Adam Griggs' half-time talk would no doubt have centred on the importance of a positive restart but the second period was barely two minutes old when England got over for their third try, this time through the impressive Sarah Bern, with Daley-McClean adding the extras.

The bonus point followed soon after through Lark Davies and Daley-McClean slotted the conversion as England went 27-0 in front. The floodgates then opened as Daley-McClean scored a fifth try.

For all of their struggles in other areas, Ireland continued to dominate the scrum battle and they were rewarded for that unrelenting power with a penalty try just after the hour, to make it 7-34.

That brought the crowd to their feet and they were up again to welcome Ali Miller back from a career-threatening injury.

England clicked into gear again as Zoe Harrison, Emily Scott and Bryony Cleall brought them over the 50-point mark but by that stage, Ireland had turned their attentions to bouncing back in Scotland.

Ireland - L Delany (A Miller 63); E Considine, S Naoupu, M Claffey, M Williams; N Fowley (E Murphy 54), A Hughes (K Dane 71); L Feely (L Djougang 71), L Lyons (A M O'Hora 71), F Reidy (E Hooban 50); A McDermott, N Fryday; J Short (A Caplice 54), C Molloy, C Griffin (capt) (C McLaughlin 63).

England - S McKenna; J Breach, E Scarratt (Z Harrison 58), T Heard, K Smith (E Scott 63); K Daley-McClean, L Riley (N Hunt 63); H Botterman (B Cleall 54), L Davies, S Bern (S Brown 48); C O'Donnell, P Cleall (R Burnfield 48); S Beckett, M Packer (A Cokayne 34), S Hunter (R Galligan 68).

REF - A Barrett (South Africa).

Indo Sport

The Throw-In: Dublin hurlers come of age, who will stand up for Offaly and Anthony Cunningham's unique record

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport