Monday, August 21, 2017

Ireland's women need your support now more than ever!


On Tuesday, Ireland start to do battle for fifth place, against the competitive Aussies in a rematch of their opening match. It has been a tough tournament for Ireland, I think the occasion has been getting to them,  in each match it has taken ages for them to click into gear and get going. Against France they just gave them too much of a start, and couldn't reel them in. We've let in too many soft tries this tournament, and against a superbly drilled French side that was always going to hurt us. We did however, never give up, and prevented them from getting a bonus point try which they really wanted.

However, as ever, the women's team are delivering fantastic bang for the their buck - we don't have the player numbers, financial backing or as professional a back up coaching set up as some of the other teams but we still manage to compete at the highest level. And this tournament needs to start the discussion on the solution to some of these issues, getting more money and players into the sport.

Anyway, the focus for the team has to be on putting all that behind them and finishing with two wins, of which if they can beat the Aussies, Canada will be far the tougher match. So they need your support now, more than ever, get to the match, watch the match, give them all the support you can on Twitter and Facebook... they're out there giving it their all for us.

New Zealand v USA, Kingspan Stadium, 5pm
England v France, Kingspan Stadium, 7.45pm

5th-place SEMI-FINALS
Ireland v Australia, Kingspan Stadium, 2pm
Canada v Wales, Queen's University, 5pm

9th-place SEMI-FINALS
Italy v Japan, Queen's University, 12pm
Spain v Hong Kong, Queen's University, 2.30pm

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

You would be absolutely crazy to miss Ireland V France!

 Nicole Cronin
 Nicole Cronin

Ireland's World Cup journey reaches a critical juncture on tomorrow, as they take on France in the final pool match of the tournament. The roue to the final four is basically win all three matches, or win two matches with bonus points - and a good points difference - which is not us...I wonder what will happen if we draw and the other two second  placed teams don't get any more points?

Anyway, the only way we can guarantee to get into the next round is to beat France. There's a line of logic that says we have a reasonable chance of doing logic! With a four day turnaround, the teams have had to plan a lot of changes to rest players. So Japan probably expected to lose to France, didn't pick their best team, had a player sent off, and got smashed. They play a much stronger  team against Ireland, who think it's going to be easy match, and it ends up pretty evenly matched.

France play a weaker team against Japan, look fantastic against 14 players, smash a dispirited Aussie side who are saving themselves for Japan, their only chance of a win now, and suddenly are the best thing since sliced bread.

Ireland underestimated both Australia and Japan, but when they needed to, dug deep, and came up with the wins. We are, to say the least, battle hardened, whereas France are still to be tested. After taking our eye off the ball against Australia and Japan, could it be more firmly on the ball now?

Home advantage is huge, so I'm going with us to pull another one out the fire. Lead ably from the front by Claire Molloy, the REAL Ireland is going to stand up tomorrow, trust me. Nicole Cronin brought alot last match, and will do so again.

Do yourself a favour and watch, the first two matches have been absolutely smashing!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ireland beat Australia, and I can't recommend strongly enough you get down to UCD!

What a fantastic night in UCD yesterday! I went down with a ticket to the France/Japan match at the Billings Stadium, early because I was hoping to pick a ticket to the Ireland/Australia match. And I did!

So just because the matches are sold out, it doesn't mean you shouldn't chance your arm, I'd say you'd have a good chance of getting in. There's a great fanzone down there, you can soak up the atmosphere at the beautiful UCD campus, plenty of players from all the countries milling around, and a great great buzz!

As for the match itself, as the players came on it was apparent that the Australian women were a lot bigger - our players looked a lot more athletic, and fit. I kind of figured we would outlast them and win, and, after making us sweat, that's exactly what they did. Australia put up some performance though, there is no emphasis on the 15 game there, they've played on 4-5 times since the last World Cup and it shows, they had good backs and big forwards, but only an ok scrum and a poor lineout. Mahalia Murphy took an impressive try, and if they played more often, that could be a really good team.

Speaking of good teams...that's Ireland! Their set pieces are excellent,  their defense is really organised, and brave too, it took a lot to bring down those big Aussie girls. They are like tigers in defense and attack, hurling themselves into contact with scant regard for personal safety. It was a fantastic experience to watch the match, you're right up close to the action, and you can see the players feeding off the energy of the crowd. Get down there, you're missing out!

Great, great team performance, with Marie Louise Reilly just owning the line out, but working hard with tackling and carrying too, Jenny Murphy putting in the hits in midfield, Larissa Muldoon marshalling the troops efficiently, and Alison Miller a real threat out wide. For me thought the real performers were the grafters, Lindsay Peat and Claire Molloy, making ground in contact where they had no right, and get up, tackle, get up tackle, and repeat!

Ireland could really do something here...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Irish Women's rugby team to take on Australia!

 Claire Molloy

Ireland have put out there team for their opening match against the Australian's tomorrow night, with an experienced core off players that have been with them through the last world cup and their Six Nations trophies. Lead by captain Claire Molloy (who's also a doctor by the way), the most capped player in the team, I think they have the beating of Australia. They are one place higher than the Aussies in the World Ranking, haven't had to endure a recent intercontinental flight, and obviously have massive home support to look forward to.  C'mon the Irish women!

15. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
13. Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Harlequins FC)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere RFC/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
9. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union RFC/Ulster)

1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
4. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College RFC/Leinster)
5. Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
6. Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke RFC/Ulster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol RFC/Connacht) Captain
8. Heather O’Brien (Highfield RFC/Munster)