Ireland Women staged a remarkable second half comeback to beat France Women 13 – 10 in the RBS Six Nations at Donnybrook earlier today. Hooker Leah Lyons scored the vital try which was converted by Nora Stapleton. The Irish out half added a penalty in each half.
Ireland Women (3) 13
TRY: Leah Lyons
CON: Nora Stapleton.
PEN: Nora Stapleton (2).
France Women (0) 10
TRY: Caroline Ladagnous.
CON: Jessy Tremouliere.
PEN: Jessy Tremouliere.
Despite the win Ireland slipped off the top of the RBS Six Nations Table with England now piping them on points scored.
I’d predicted a win for France, in fact I’d been expecting a French win in this match since the start of the Six Nations, but Ireland started the game with great determination and kept France pinned in their own half for practically all of the opening quarter.
Unfortunately the hosts had little to show for their domination, a 12th minute penalty from Stapleton their only score. Where they were scoring big was in their attitude and mutual support as they encouraged and cajoled each other at every opportunity. In a week where they have been backed up against the wall, the players came out fighting!
However they did require some assistance from referee Sara Cox who had a bit of an off day with her scrum interpretations. A huge scrum from France around the half hour mark was strangely awarded to Ireland but it seemed to be the turning point of the half. The visitors began to get on top and they bullied their way down into the Irish 22 as the half counted down. The French came away without a score but they did force Ireland’s influential captain Paula Fitzpatrick off for a ten minute rest on the 38th minute. The game had taken a dramatic turn and it looked ominous for Ireland as the teams changed ends.
Things got worse when France scored within three minutes of the resumption. Lenaig Corson stripped the ball from Sophie Spence and Safi N’Diaye put Caroline Ladagnous through to score. Full back Jessy Tremouliere hit an outrageous conversion from out wide. That’s it, game over I thought as France took a 3 – 7 lead after dominating most facets of the game either side of half time.
To their credit, Ireland came storming back and pounded the French line, with Lyons and Spence to the fore. Fitzpatrick returned from the bin and within minutes France were a player down as Marjorie Mayans got her marching orders with the second yellow card of the game.
Ireland crossed from the next play as Lyons burrowed over after a good driving maul from the Irish. Stapleton converted and Ireland were back in front at 10 – 7. on the 50th minute.
A tense final thirty saw Stapleton and Tremouliere swap penalties but the French continued to fall foul of Cox’s scrum interpretations and some astute tactical kicking from Stapleton kept Les Blues on the back foot. The influential Corson was yellow carded with seven minutes to go and Ireland held on reasonably comfortably to record a memorable win.
Final score: Ireland Women 13 France Women 10.
Ireland Women: Mairead Coyne, Kim Flood, Jenny Murphy, Claire McLaughlin, Eimear Considine, Nora Stapleton, Mary Healy, Lindsay Peat, Leah Lyons, Ailis Egan, Sophie Spence, Marie Louise Reilly, Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick. Replacements: Ciara O’Connor, Ilse van Staden, Ruth O’Reilly, Ciara Cooney, Nichola Fryday, Larissa Muldoon, Nikki Caughey, Louise Galvin.
We have two galleries from this match, get them below.