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Ireland Women rally after 2 losses, thrashing Ukraine to earn place in quarter-finals

Ireland weren’t dispirited by losses to Spain and France, bouncing back with a six-try win over Ukraine.

Updated 16.00

IRELAND WOMEN BOUNCED back from two defeats to battle their way in to the quarter-finals of this weekend’s opening leg of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix.

Anthony Eddy’s side produced a defiant display to inflict a 38 – 7 win on Ukraine in Kazan, and that six-try victory has helped them seal a place against England in tomorrow’s play-offs (according to the excellent @ScrumQueens).

Despite the early losses, Eddy’s side did show glimpses of brilliance to keep optimism up in this, the first of two weekends in Olympic Qualification.

Ireland managed to cross the try-line in both games, but brilliant breakaway tries came against the run of play as Spain ran out 24 – 10 winners before France doubled Ireland’s defeats with a 20 – 7 reversal.

Ireland found themselves on the back foot from the very start against Spain, the masterful Patricia Garcia dictating the game and sneaking in for the opening try and Ireland never managed to close the deficit.

It wasn’t for the want of trying, Claire Molloy went on a brilliant run down the right wing before being forced to offload to Shannon Houston to score, but the angle of the conversion meant Ireland were left two behind.

Spain extended their lead further through Vanesa Rial,  Iera Echebarria and another from Garcia to before Amee Leigh Crowe claimed a consolation try at the finish.

Game 2 also saw four tries shipped by Ireland and they were again forced on the back foot early on as France opened up a 10 – 0 lead.

However, after Claire Molloy and Megan Williams shrugged off injury concerns and dusted themselves off. Williams rose high to claim a line-out and Louise Galvin found a defensive gap and raced a full 60 metres, burning off defenders on her way under the posts.

At 10 – 7 hope was rekindled, but almost immediately extinguished again as France matched their first half tally of two tries and were able to keep Ireland turned around and playing high risk rugby in their own half.

Ireland emerged for game 3 knowing their backs were against the wall, but they managed to battle clear and extend their stay in the mix for Rio.

Originally published 12.10

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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