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Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Claffey takes a kick at goal during the January match against Wales.
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Ireland Women suffer double injury blow as they bid to bounce back after Italy defeat
Centre Michelle Claffey required surgery on the ankle injury picked up in Italy, while Leah Lyons will be sidelined with a shoulder issue.

IRELAND WOMEN WILL be without two key players for the remainder of the Six Nations campaign.

Head coach Adam Griggs is preparing for Saturday’s home meeting against France without the forward power of Leah Lyons and centre Michelle Claffey.

Claffey required ankle surgery after sustaining the injury in the first half of the loss to Italy in Parma a fortnight ago.

Lyons, meanwhile, will also miss the Championship’s closing two fixtures with an A/C joint issue, which could keep her out of action with her club Harlequins for up to six weeks.

“As gutted as they are, that’s the game we’re playing and hopefully they’ll come back better after it,” said Griggs yesterday before highlighting the loss of Claffey in Italy as telling blow in the narrow 29-27 defeat.

“Like everyone, I was watching Sunday when the lads lost Bundee Aki,” said the Kiwi, noting that his compatriot Joe Schmidt mentioned how difficult it had been to replace his inside centre.

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“It resonated with me, because the one position we hadn’t planned losing was Claffey at 12.

“Eimear (Considine) knows she was covering 13, she was that back-up on the pitch. But to lose a player in that position was hard.”

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