Friday 24 November 2017

Intercept try adds to Ireland's air of gloom in Ashbourne

women's six nations

Ireland - N Briggs; A Doyle, J Murphy, K Fitzhenry, A Miller; N Stapleton, L Muldoon; R O'Reilly, G Bourke, A Egan; S Spence, ML Reilly; P Fitzpatrick, C Molloy, H O'Brien. Reps: T Rosser for Muldoon (54), F Hayes for O'Reilly (66).

France - J Tremoulière; C Boujard, E Poublan, C Héguy, J Billes; C Cabalou, Y Rivoalen; L Arricastre, G Mignot, J Duval; M André, M de Nadaï; C Tombe Diallo, L Grand, S N'Diaye. Reps: P Rayssac for Grand (35), C Ferer for de Nadaï (68), L Delas for Boujard (80).

Ref - C Hodnett (England).

On a night of great uncertainty at Ashbourne RFC, Ireland were on the receiving end of an agonising defeat to defending champions France in a keenly-contested Women's Six Nations encounter..

There was a nightmare scenario at the start of the second period in the north Meath venue, when a series of floodlight failures put the remainder of the game in doubt.

Justin Deegan of the IRFU later revealed that a filter in the Milltown House generator had stopped working, but when the problem was eventually resolved (both teams were eager to complete the game on the night), the teams resumed an intriguing tactical battle.

France had dominated possession in the first half, but with but full-back Jessy Tremouliere off target on both occasions the 2013 Grand Slam champions remained on level terms with their successors at the break.

This set up an enticing second half, but just 15 seconds after the restart, the floodlights suddenly faded. However, 50 minutes after the action had originally resumed, there was finally a return to normal service.

The lengthy disruption was of more benefit to Ireland, who finally opened the scoring courtesy of an unconverted try from powerful prop Ailis Egan on 47 minutes. However, just when another memorable success was in sight, winger Caroline Boujard intercepted a wayward Irish pass and proceeded to cross over for a runaway try.

Tremouliere added the conversion in comprehensive fashion, and offered further breathing space to the visitors with a coolly-slotted penalty eight minutes from time. In a frantic finale, surges by Nora Stapleton, Katie Fitzhenry and Alison Miller almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for Ireland, but following stern defensive work by France, they ultimately came up just short.

Scorers - Ireland: A Egan try. France: C Boujard try, J Tremouliere pen, con.

Ireland - N Briggs; A Doyle, J Murphy, K Fitzhenry, A Miller; N Stapleton, L Muldoon; R O'Reilly, G Bourke, A Egan; S Spence, ML Reilly; P Fitzpatrick, C Molloy, H O'Brien. Reps: T Rosser for Muldoon (54), F Hayes for O'Reilly (66).

France - J Tremouliere; C Boujard, E Poublan, C Heguy, J Billes; C Cabalou, Y Rivoalen; L Arricastre, G Mignot, J Duval; M Andre, M de Nadai; C Tombe Diallo, L Grand, S N'Diaye. Reps: P Rayssac for Grand (35), C Ferer for de Nadai (68), L Delas for Boujard (80).

Ref - C Hodnett (England)

IRELAND 5

FRANCE10

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