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Ryan Byrne/INPHO Ireland's Stacey Flood in possession during the win over Italy.
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'There's nobody better than her to pass the ball in Ireland. It's the best I've ever seen'
Ireland inside centre Stacey Flood has been praised by her international team-mate Eimear Considine after Sunday’s win over Italy.

IRELAND GOT OFF the mark with their first win of this year’s Women’s Six Nations on Sunday.  

After defeats to Wales and France, Greg McWilliams’ side deservedly picked up a bonus-point victory over the Italians at Musgrave Park.

Fullback Eimear Considine wasn’t involved with the squad but, speaking on The Front Row – The42′s new rugby podcast in partnership with Guinness – commended her team-mates after the display. 

“It was so important,” said Considine. “We’ve been building as a squad, but without results what is building? 

“It finally clicked and everything started to work. The performance was really great, which looked after the result. 

“I think there’s huge relief for the girls just to have that win and performance and to improve from the first two rounds and get some things right.  

“They’ve fixed the set-piece over the last few weeks and improved it. Week by week, they’ve improved their maul – against France – and then this week they improved their scrum as well. 

“There’s no point having a lethal backline if you can’t get the ball out to them and I think in the last few weeks they haven’t had the opportunity to get the ball out cleanly as they have been under so much pressure. 

“So at least we got to see the backline do their thing.”

Considine praised lock Sam Monaghan after her player-of-the-match performance, and went on to single out inside centre Stacey Flood.

I thought Stacey was phenomenal,” she added. “She controlled everything with her kicks and there is nobody better than her to pass the ball in Ireland. 

“Left and right, her pass is the best pass I’ve ever seen and she can just do so much with it. When she runs, passes and kicks, she always seems to find the space. 

“It’s her vision to do all three things and the unpredictability of her game. She sets up so many players and puts them in good space.”

stacey-flood-celebrates-scoring-a-try-with-linda-djougang-lucy-mulhall-and-eimear-considine Dan Sheridan / INPHO Stacey Flood and Eimear Considine share a hug earlier in the campaign. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Flood is expected to be one of several players McWilliams will be without as Ireland prepare to take on England on 24 April, due to their involvement in the 7s set-up. 

The42′s rugby writer Murray Kinsella believes it is a significant setback for the 15s, who will be aiming build on this win in their remaining Six Nations matches. 

“It’s far from ideal for the Ireland 15s team,” Kinsella said. “They’re going to lose five or six players from the [Italy] matchday squad, including some really key presences like Stacey Flood, presumably. 

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“She’s been a really key 7s international and has been so important in this Ireland 15s Six Nations campaign. 

“The back three probably [will go], maybe Aoibheann Reilly as well, so there’s going to be complete upheaval in the backline and over halfway through a campaign that is far from ideal. 

You’re finally getting some momentum and cohesion into your team and now you’ve got to start again.

“We knew this was coming but it’s surprising to me that Greg McWilliams doesn’t have clarity on exactly what’s happening next. 

“It understand if there’s maybe issues in the 7s squad or whatever has happened there, but you’re in the midst of a Six Nations campaign, there’s massive eyes on this, there’s a lot of attention now and lots of celebration about the fact that Ireland have got a win and then you’re dealt this big blow.

“That’s exactly what it is, whatever way you dress it up.”

Click here to subscribe to The Front Row or listen to this week’s episode – the final one of the series – below:


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