French fried: Ireland's women continue march towards Grand Slam
IRELAND continued their incredible march towards a historic first ever women's Grand Slam after an enthralling 15-10 victory over the French in Ashbourne.
In front of a boisterous crowd of over 3,500, tries in either half from player of the match Niamh Briggs and Ailis Egan helped Ireland to their fourth successive Six Nations win.
France made the better start in Ashbourne and a penalty early on saw them take the lead but Phillip Doyle's side responded well as they played into a very strong breeze.
On 15 minutes Niamh Briggs finished off a sweeping move to touch down and was unlucky to see her conversion go wide.
The French opted to kick an attacking penalty into touch and they scored a try from a well constructed driving maul and Sandrine Agricole converted beautifully from the touch line to give France a 10-5 lead after 23 minutes.
Ireland were defending resolutely with the heavier French pack exerting a lot of influence and they did well to keep the game scoreless into the break.
Ireland with the aid of the breeze made a blistering start to the second period and Ailis Egan crossed over to level matters and Briggs converted to give Ireland a 12-10 lead.
It was nervy viewing for the large crowd in Ashbourne for the next 20 minutes cancelled as France defended well as Ireland took control with a Briggs penalty agonisingly hitting the post.
The crowd erupted into the Fields of Athenry late on as it became apparent that Ireland were heading towards another famous win and Briggs landed a penalty to copper fasten Ireland's lead and Ireland won 15-10.