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'The squad's condolences are with Kate Moran's family this week'

Ireland Women captain Nichola Fryday said the young camogie player’s death was a tragedy.

Nichola Fryday and the Ireland squad.
Nichola Fryday and the Ireland squad.
Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Updated Apr 24th 2022, 9:15 PM

THERE WAS LOTS to discuss on the rugby front but Ireland Women captain Nichola Fryday touched on something far more important when the first question came her way after her side’s Six Nations defeat to England.

Fryday was keen to pass on Ireland’s condolences to the friends and family of Kate Moran, the 20-year-old camogie player who was laid to rest two days ago.

She was fatally injured playing for Athenry Camogie Club in a senior league game on Monday, passing away in hospital the following day. 

“I’m just going to start off by saying the squad’s condolences are with Kate Moran’s family this week,” said Ireland skipper Fryday this afternoon.

“It was a tragedy that happened in Galway and we just want to let her family and friends know that we’re all thinking of them at this time.”

They were thoughtful words from Fryday after a tough afternoon for her Ireland team over in Leicester, where England marched on to a Grand Slam decider by beating Greg McWilliams’ side 69-0.

Fryday and co. delivered a defiant first-half performance against the heavy favourites before England pulled well clear in the second 40 minutes, finishing with 11 tries in total.

Despite that very tough second half, Fryday took plenty from her team’s performance.

“I’m extremely proud of the girls, especially that first-half performance,” she said.

“We really brought it to England for that first 40 minutes and then they showed that they’re world-class in that second half.

“You can’t question the girls’ fight throughout that whole match and I’m extremely proud of that.”

The main difference between the teams was obvious.

niamh-byrne-sings-as-she-receives-her-first-cap Niamh Byrne sings after getting her first Ireland cap. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

“I think it’s probably their power game, their set-piece,” said Fryday.

“It’s a real weapon that they have. We tried different ways of defusing it but it was just world-class and that’s what we need to strive to get better at and be able to handle that kind of pressure.”

There were frustrations for Fryday and Ireland during the heavy defeat, particularly when England scrum-half Leanne Infante was not carded for striking Michelle Claffey in the face soon before half time.

Fryday asked referee Amber McLachlan to look at the “punch” during the game but it was deemed to be only a penalty.

“In terms of officiating, look, that’s rugby, that’s life, you have to be able to deal with the card you are dealt and I have no issues,” said Fryday post-match.

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“Our interpretations were different. It wasn’t a closed fist so maybe that’s why.”

The fully-professional England team have won all four of their games in this year’s Six Nations and are now on a 22-game unbeaten streak, marking themselves out as the best team in the world.

They will meet unbeaten France in Bayonne next Saturday for the Grand Slam decider and though the French have home advantage, England will be fancied to clinch the crown.

The hope for Irish rugby supporters is that the big gap doesn’t continue to open up in the years ahead.

“This year’s Six Nations has got tougher and tougher and England are that step above everyone else,” said Fryday.

“At the same time, it’s just rugby. If you go out and make your tackles and you chop low and you get one high and if you implement that system and process, it makes your defence simply and easy and that’s what we did in the first half.”

First published today at 17.46

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Murray Kinsella

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