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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 20 January 2021


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Good afternoon and welcome along to our live coverage of Ireland’s final game of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup as Tom Tierney’s side face Wales in their seventh place playoff.

There’s no hiding from the fact this has been a hugely disappointing campaign for the hosts but there’s still plenty at stake this afternoon with automatic qualification for the next World Cup on the line.

Kick off at Kingspan Stadium is at 2pm and we’ll have live updates throughout right here.

Here are the teams for this afternoon’s game.

Tom Tierney has made four changes, with Jenny Murphy and captain Claire Molloy both ruled out with concussion after the 36-24 loss to Australia on Tuesday.

Heather O’Brien returns to the starting back row at number eight, replacing Molloy and reshuffling captain Paula Fitzpatrick to the blindside with relentless carrier Ciara Griffin at openside.

Eimear Considine is back on the right wing, replacing Louise Galvin, while Blackrock duo Katie Fitzhenry and Jeamie Deacon form a centre partnership with Sene Naoupu among the replacements.


15. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
13. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
12. Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere RFC/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
9. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)

1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
4. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
5. Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
6. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College RFC/Leinster) Capt
7. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
8. Heather O’Brien (Highfield RFC/Munster)


16. Leah Lyons (Highfield RFC/Munster)
17. Ilse Van Staden (Cooke RFC/Ulster)
18. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
19. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
20. Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke RFC/Ulster)
21. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union RFC/Ulster)
22. Sene Naoupu (Harlequins RFC)
23. Mairead Coyne (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)

Just a few minutes until kick-off here in Belfast. The crowd are beginning to filter in now and there’s a healthy contingent of home support on all four sides of the ground. Perfect conditions for a game, too.

Hugely emotion rendition of Ireland’s Call there with a number of the Ireland players in tears. Marie Louise Reilly composes herself and leads her team-mates in the huddle. Wales to kick off.

Bright start from Ireland. Eimear Considine makes a big tackle on this near side and then the hosts look to spread it wide through the hands with Stapleton, Deacon, Fitzhenry and Miller involved.

Wales are then penalised at the breakdown and Stapleton pings the penalty down the touchline.


Much, much better from Ireland and they have the crowd on their feet. Lovely hands in the backline sees Tyrrell feed Considine, who is stopped in her tracks. Ireland recycle possession well only for a handling error to suck the momentum out of that attack.


Ireland have dominated the opening exchanges and have another penalty here, as Stapleton — on the occasion of her 50th cap — kicks for the corner again. The line out is secured but Moloney the latest to knock on and Wales have a reprieve.


Pure power again from Ali Miller on that far side as she barges her way through a couple of tackles to get Ireland moving again. The forwards keep it tight as they creep towards the line before Cronin gives it out to the backs. Ireland knocking on the door here.


Ireland hammering away at the Welsh line as Moloney goes close and with a penalty advantage, Stapleton looks for the cross-field kick but there’s indecision between Considine and Miller and the chance is gone. We’re going back for the penalty five metres out.

Flag 12Mins

TRY! Ireland 7-0 Wales (Paula Fitzpatrick)

And the pressure eventually pays off as the driving maul rumbles towards the line and captain Paula Fitzpatrick adds the finishing touch. A huge roar goes up around Ravenhill as Stapleton then adds the extras.


It has been the perfect start for Ireland as they’ve controlled the contest so far and showed far more energy and ingenuity in their play than in any of their previous outings. That dominance is now reflected on the scoreboard and the home crowd have really got behind Tierney’s side in the opening 15 minutes.


Wales now asking questions of the Ireland defence, which stands firm and forces the turnover from the line out. Stapleton clears her lines on that far side to relieve some of the pressure.


After Ireland’s early period of supremacy, the Welsh have responded well and have been camped inside the Ireland half for the last 10 minutes. The hosts are eventually pinged for being offside and Wales kick for the corner again.


Wales go down the driving maul route as well but are stopped just short of the line as Ireland do well to push them into touch. Ailis Egan hurt her back during that last move and appears to be really struggling as she limps around the touchline towards the dressing rooms. Ciara O’Connor is on in her place.


A few mistakes starting to creep into Ireland’s play. Fitzpatrick safely gathers the line out but Griffin fumbles as Stapleton looked to spread it wide. Wales have owned the ball for the last 15 minutes.


Peat is then penalised for not rolling away and Robyn Wilkins calls for the tee.


Penalty! Ireland 7-3 Wales (Wilkins)

And the Welsh out-half makes no mistake as she gets her side on the board. No more than they deserve after a period of sustained pressure.


Every time Wales take the ball into contact, they’re making yards as Ireland struggle to make their tackles again. Rowland Phillips’ side are playing some tidy stuff (doing the basics, essentially) and Ireland are really struggling to get into this game.

Flag 30Mins

TRY! Ireland 7-10 Wales (Caryl Thomas)

It was coming. Ireland give away another penalty, Wales kick for the corner and the maul does all the damage with prop Thomas emerging from the bottom of the pile with ball in hand.


Ireland having to dig deep defensively as Wales continue to pull them left and then right with good running rugby. Wales remaining patient through the phases with Sioned Harries and Siwan Lillicrap carrying hard.


Ireland look to play some rugby of their own as Stapleton and Deacon combine on the loop and Considine then feeds Miller. The move breaks down on the far side but that was so much better from the hosts.


Mayo are as named by Stephen Rochford last night.


Ireland look to strike late at the end of this half. The clock has gone red but Stapleton is allowed kick for the corner and this is a great position for the hosts now.

Flag 42Mins

Half-time! Ireland 7-10 Wales 

But again the move breaks down thanks to a handling error and the chance is gone. And that’s half-time in Belfast.


Ireland trail at the break again after another energy-sapping and attritional half of rugby which saw the hosts get off to a flyer only to be penned back by Wales, who are full value for their 10-7 lead.


We’re back underway at Kingspan Stadium. No changes for either side.


Wales straight back onto the front foot. Ciara O’Connor knocks on, Ireland are penalised at the set-piece and are now forced into defensive duty inside their own 22 again.


Ireland are all over the place defensively as they continue to miss tackles and are operating with little or no line speed. Wales edge their way towards the line and it looks like they’ve got over again, but the referee isn’t sure so we’re going upstairs to the TMO.


No try! That’s a big call. It looked for all the world that Amy Evans got the ball down on the line but the TMO disagrees and we’re going back for a five metre scrum. Desperate defence from Ireland.


Huge roar as Sophie Spence takes off her tracksuit top and enters the fray after Ciara Cooney sustained a knock to her arm.

Flag 50Mins

TRY! Ireland 7-17 Wales (Sioned Harries)

There’s no doubt about it this time as Wales power their way over from close range and this game is slipping away from Ireland. To add insult to injury, captain Paula Fitzpatrick has been sent to the sin bin.


Ireland’s indiscipline is costing them again as they concede another penalty for a high tackle.

Flag 55Mins

TRY! Ireland 7-22 Wales (Carys Phillips)

Wales are over again as Ireland continue to crumble. Things could hardly have got any worse for the hosts in the tournament, but they are.


Muldoon, Baxter, Naoupu and Lyons are all on for Ireland. 22 minutes to go and this game is over as a contest. It really is a sad state of affairs.


Paula Fitzpatrick is back on after spending 10 minutes in the bin as Ireland kick for the corner. The line out is gathered cleanly and the green shirts drive towards the line only to be held up illegally. Prop Amy Evans has been shown yellow.


Ireland huffing and puffing but no way through yet.

Flag 66Mins

TRY! Ireland 12-22 Wales (Lindsay Peat)

The home crowd are doing their best to urge Ireland over the line and the pressure eventually pays off as Peat dives over. Tyrrell is unable to add the extras. 15 minutes to go.


But that just about sums up Ireland’s day, and tournament. The kick off is fumbled by Spence and all the momentum and energy has just been sucked out of Ravenhill.

Flag 70Mins

TRY! Ireland 12-27 Wales (Shona Powell-Hughes)

Game, set and match. Just after Ireland found a way back into the game, Spence’s knock on hands possession to Wales and they use the platform to pick and drive before crossing the whitewash through Powell-Hughes.

Flag 76Mins

TRY! Ireland 17-27 Wales (Katie Fitzhenry)

Ireland looking to finish on a high as they pepper the Welsh line and eventually the space opens up for Fitzhenry in the corner. Back to a 10-point game after Tyrrell’s conversion lands short.


Frenetic stuff out there now as Ireland throw everything at Wales in a bid to finish with a flurry but, once again, a handling error sees the move break down. Three minutes left on the clock.


All of a sudden, Ireland come out of their shell and play some expansive, highly-skilled rugby. It goes all the way through the backs with Considine diving over in the corner but after checking with the TMO, the officials decide Tyrrell’s final pass was forward.

Flag 80Mins

Full time! Ireland 17-27 Wales

The curtain falls on Ireland’s disappointing World Cup campaign with a third straight defeat meaning Tom Tierney’s side finish eighth.


Thanks for joining us from Belfast this afternoon and throughout the tournament. We’ll have a full report and reaction to come from this match later as well as coverage of tonight’s World Cup final between England and New Zealand. Until then, goodbye!

Ireland players dejected after Carys Phillips scores a try Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

About the author:

Ryan Bailey


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