Ireland's Women's Rugby team
In a very entertaining game before a record home attendance of 6,047 at Energia Park, Donnybrook on Saturday evening, Ireland Women suffered their second home defeat 47-17 against France.
Donegal's Laura Feely had a storming first half and Ireland were very unlucky to be down 28-12 at the break. Feely was involved in carry after carry and gave everything before being replaced in the second half.
Nicole Fowley of Sligo with family connections in Dromahaire and Ballyshannon, also played her part in the opening half before being also replaced in the second period.
First half tries from captain Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy had Ireland just 14-12 behind, but that was as close as they got as the star-studded French side reeled off seven tries, including one from number 8 Romane Menager who was red-carded on the hour mark for leading with her forearm into the defending Griffin's neck.
The result in Donnybrook ensures les Bleues remain in the title hunt, albeit that England are red-hot favourites to win the Grand Slam against Scotland at Twickenham next Saturday. Jessy Tremouliere, the reigning World Rugby 15s Player of the Year, showed her class on her return from a knee injury, landing all six of her conversion attempts and joining Boujard in consistently testing the home defence out wide.
Ireland have just one game left, away to Wales next weekend, and they will be hoping to finish on a high after an up and down Six Nations campaign.
IRELAND WOMEN: Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo Ladies/IQ Rugby); Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster), Enya Breen (UL Bohemians/Munster), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht); Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster); Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht), Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians/Munster), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/Connacht), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt), Claire Molloy (Wasps), Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/Ulster).
Replacements used: Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster) for Feely (47 mins), Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Connacht) for Miller (48), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Reidy, Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Fowley, Anna Caplice (Richmond) for McLaughlin (all 54), Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster) for Dane (65), Emma Hooban (St. Mary's/Leinster) for Nic a Bhaird (67), Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster) for Fryday (70).
FRANCE WOMEN: Jessy Tremouliere (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin); Caroline Boujard (Montpellier RC), Yolaine Yengo (Stade Rennais), Gabrielle Vernier (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois), Ian Jason (Stade Toulousain); Pauline Bourdon (AS Bayonnaise), Yanna Rivoalen (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois); Lise Arricastre (Lons Rugby Féminin Béarn Pyrénées), Caroline Thomas (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin), Clara Joyeux (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), Celine Ferer (AS Bayonnaise), Audrey Forlani (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), Gaelle Hermet (Stade Toulousain) (capt), Coumba Diallo (Stade Français Paris), Romane Menager (Montpellier RC).
Replacements used: Mailys Traore (Stade Toulousain) for Arricastre (52 mins), Chloe Pelle for Joyeux (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois/FFR) (64), Emma Coudert (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin) for Rivoalen (65), Milena Soloch (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois) for Thomas (both 70), Marine Menager (Montpellier RC) for Tremouliere (72), Camille Imart (Stade Toulousain) for Yengo, Laetitia Bobo (Stade Toulousain) for Ferrer (both 76). Not used: Fiona Lecat (Stade Toulousain).
REFEREE: Ian Tempest (England)