Wednesday 18 September 2019

Ashbourne floodlights failure shows the need for a bigger stage for Irish women

Ireland players leave the pitch for the second time after floodlight failure.
Ireland players leave the pitch for the second time after floodlight failure.
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Friday the 13th, unlucky for some. As the darkness descended on the 2,100 crowd in Ashbourne on Friday night, the mind cast back to Nora Stapleton's comments that the Ireland players "didn't mind" where they play their Six Nations home games.

"I'm not sure if the Aviva is necessarily somewhere we have to play. There are probably other venues" said the Irish out-half last week.

"It is just about playing the match. It is down to IRFU marketing and promoting and for them to look at that next year if they want to change it."

The IRFU's decision to not play either of Ireland Women's home games at the Aviva Stadium raised eyebrows in certain quarters.

Floodlight failure can occur at any ground, just ask Manchester United who in 2012 at Old Trafford had a Champions League game halted in similar fashion to Ireland's defeat to France at the Meath venue.

Similar incidents at very different venues and although Ashbourne has made itself the 'home of women's rugby', the time has surely come for a bigger stage.

At the same time the players and supporters were plunged into darkness, three of the four provincial venues The (RDS, Thomond Park and the Sportsground) were vacant while Donnybrook could also have been a potential venue.

On the back of 2013 Grand Slam win and last year's fourth place finish at the World Cup, women's rugby in this country is on the up and former captain Fiona Coghlan took to Twitter to say that a Dublin venue would indeed now be more suitable.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

"We used to play in Thomond, Interpros games there this year & last. It would be great to bring games around the country but to maximise crowd I do think Dublin venue as much for traveling supporters too."

Ireland will return to Ashbourne in two weeks to face England.

Women's rugby in this country is growing. If it's given the correct platform, it can grow even further.

Indo Sport

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport