Ireland National Team Trials: Ellen Walshe – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – April 22 2021

Walshe victorious in 200m medley and breaks one-minute barrier in 100m butterfly for second time

By Daire Walsh

Templeogue Swimming Club’s Ellen Walshe enjoyed a brace of productive performances on Day Three of the Ireland National Team Trials in Blanchardstown.

In January of last year, Walshe made history by becoming the first Irish woman to break the one-minute barrier in the 100 metres butterfly.

Smashing the previous national record of 1:00.21, she came home in a time of 59.54 to earn a gold medal at the Flanders Swim Cup in Belgium.

She repeated the same feat at the National Aquatic Centre today – albeit she was in the pool by herself on this occasion.

Her final time of 59.73 was just shy of the record she had set 15 months ago and is a sign of the progress she continues to make.

Nevertheless, it was still marginally short of the 57.92 time that is required to earn a place on the squad for the Olympic Games in Rio.

Walshe had enjoyed a near-perfect start to the day’s action, with a time of 2:17.02 in an early morning heat ensuring she led the 200 metres individual medley semi-final later in the evening.

Taking to the pool roughly 30 minutes before her butterfly effort, she came straight out of the blocks and led the chasing pack after 50 metres.

She slipped back to third spot midway through this event, but the former Echo Sports Star of the Month quickly regained momentum and was comfortably in front at the three-quarter mark.

While she was pushed all the way by Julia Knox, Walshe ultimately emerged as the winner of the race – just under a second clear of her nearest challenger at 2:18.04. The next phase of this competition is due to take place tomorrow night.

Posted in Swimming | Comments Off on Ireland National Team Trials: Ellen Walshe – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – April 22 2021

Camogie Association Dual Player Motion Piece: Hannah Hegarty & Jenny Byrne – The Tallaght Echo – April 22 2021

Positive response to dual player motion

By Daire Walsh

DUBLIN and St Jude’s camogie star Hannah Hegarty has offered a ringing endorsement to the dual player motion that was recently passed by the Camogie Association at their Annual Congress.

Initially brought forward by Cuala at a Dublin AGM, this new rule recognises the role of the dual player and will – in partnership with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association – endeavour to facilitate them as far as is practicable.

An identical motion still needs to be rubber stamped by the LGFA in order it for this to become a nationwide initiative, but Hegarty is delighted to see measures being taken to address a burning issue within women’s sport.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” remarked Hegarty, who represented Dublin in both codes up until minor level.

“It’s really good to finally have a bit of movement in the whole dual player thing, that they’re recognised and hopefully, eventually, the schedules might start lining up so we can avoid clashes of finals on the same weekend or on the same day.

“I did play [both] growing up and did face plenty of conflict with dates for matches and training. I often had to choose one over the other.”

Despite choosing to play camogie over ladies football on the inter-county scene, Hegarty maintains her dual status at club level.

A camogie championship winner with St Jude’s in 2020, she also represented the Templeogue side in their junior football final defeat to Ballinteer St John’s last year.

It has been difficult at times to strike a balance between the two, while it’s a similar case in other dual clubs such as Ballyboden St Enda’s and Lucan Sarsfields.

Hegarty is therefore hopeful that playing both camogie and football will now become the norm rather than the exception.

“We’ve had days where we’ve had a game in the morning and a football semi-final or a final in the afternoon. You can’t say whether the win or a loss – loss in my case – was due to maybe three starting players having to play both. You can’t say it wasn’t either. It will certainly help the dual clubs around Dublin.”

A member of Round Tower Clondalkin, Jenny Byrne currently serves as Chairperson of the Dublin Camogie Board. She revealed that the road leading up to the dual player motion first began two years ago.

“In 2019 we set up a working group with ladies football. Ladies football had a working group and camogie had a working group. They sat down together with a blank piece of paper and went through fixtures and everything else. We had a representative from the GAA sitting with us as well,” Byrne explained.

“From a Dublin point of view, we were happy to do the alternative weeks. The week on, week off. So there would be no fixture clashes. For the national body to recognise this now, it actually helps us in a big way.”

While it remains to be seen how the dual dilemma will be handled in the inter-county grade, steps are already being taken by Byrne and her colleagues at local level.

“The agreement this year was that with the Under 13s and U14s, the leagues would be on alternative weeks. With COVID now, we’re not sure what way we’re going to be fixed depending on how many weeks we have for fixtures.

“But for championship we’re definitely look at Under 13s, Under 14, Under 15s and Under 16s for alternative weeks,” she added.

“There’s actually a Zoom meeting of the two working groups this week to sit down and see where we’re at, but nothing can be planned until obviously restrictions are lifted.”

Posted in Camogie | Comments Off on Camogie Association Dual Player Motion Piece: Hannah Hegarty & Jenny Byrne – The Tallaght Echo – April 22 2021

Women’s National League Preview: Bohemians V Peamount United – Claire Walsh – The Tallaght Echo – April 22 2021

“It was a really important win for us” – Walsh

By Daire Walsh

IT MAY still be early in the season, but Peamount United defender Claire Walsh feels last weekend’s home triumph over Shelbourne in the Women’s National League was a significant one nonetheless.

With the Peas’ chasing a third consecutive title, Eleanor Ryan-Doyle and Áine O’Gorman shook the net to give the Newcastle club a 2-1 victory at PRL Park in Greenogue on Saturday.

Although 2020 runners-up Shels made matters interesting with a second half goal from Ciara Grant, Walsh wasn’t the least bit surprised to see them fighting back so strongly.

“A very tough game, but Shels are a top, top side” Walsh remarked.

“Whenever we play each other there’s rarely much between us. I think we were really clinical in the first half, we got the two goals.

“Then we just defended really well in the second half, but they really put it up to us. It was a really important win for us.

“It was great to win at home. It’s always tough being away and it’s great when you’re in your home ground and you can get three points.”

Having played just twice since the WNL got underway on March 27, James O’Callaghan’s side will now be entering into a hectic period of action. This Saturday’s trip across the city to face Bohemians kick-starts a busy schedule of seven games in the space of 42 days for the defending champions.

Facing debutants in last year’s league, Walsh acknowledged Bohs are an ever-improving team and Peamount will need to be on their toes for their visit to the Oscar Traynor Centre (kick-off 2pm).

“I think we’re expecting a really tough game against Bohs. Last year they were a tough team to beat. I think going into it we need to treat it like every other game.

“We have massive respect for Bohs and they’ve signed a few good players this year. I think they’re going to be a great team in the next few years.”

Six days before getting the measure of Shels in a Dublin derby, Walsh was lining out for the Republic of Ireland women’s team in a friendly encounter with Belgium in Brussels. This was the Wicklow native’s first senior international start, after previously featuring twice off the bench in 2019.

Walsh was thrilled to be given a chance to shine by Ireland boss Vera Pauw and was greatly encouraged to be amongst a strong Women’s National League contingent during this international window that also saw her being named as a substitute for a narrow home loss to Denmark.

“I was personally delighted. I was really happy to be given that opportunity. I think there was five of us [from the WNL] that played during the two games. Jamie Finn, Emily Whelan, Ellen Molloy, then Aine [O’Gorman] and myself from Peamount,” she said.

“Everyone got game time as well, which was great. Everyone did themselves really proud. Credit to the league and credit to the clubs as well for having the players ready to play at that level.”

Posted in League Of Ireland, Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s National League Preview: Bohemians V Peamount United – Claire Walsh – The Tallaght Echo – April 22 2021

Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – The Irish Independent – April 22 2021

Griggs: Italy clash will be ‘perfect dress rehearsal’ for World Cup qualifying tournament

Daire Walsh

While third place in a revamped Six Nations Championship will be up for grabs, the Ireland women’s rugby side have an added incentive to get one over on Italy at Energia Park in Dublin on Saturday (12.0).

In addition to seeking a positive end to the Championship, both teams will be aiming to lay down a marker ahead of their planned reunion in a World Cup qualifying tournament later in the year.

With his native New Zealand set to host the 2022 finals, Ireland head coach Adam Griggs admits this subplot will add considerable spice to the weekend’s game.

“We know they’re going to be part of the opposition that will try to stop us making a World Cup. Probably over the last year we’ve spoken about the bigger picture and the destination we’re trying to get to,” Griggs remarked.

“We looked at their side over the last two weeks, they’ve got a lot of core combinations that have been there for a long time. This will be a perfect dress rehearsal, I suppose, come the autumn.”

Originally set to take place at Parma’s Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Saturday’s game will now be held in Donnybrook. Given Ireland’s amateur stars, some of whom work on the frontline, would have to enter into quarantine on their return from Italy, an agreement was reached between the IRFU and the Italian federation to switch the venue.

When the sides last met in the Irish capital, the hosts came away with a 21-7 victory. That was the first competitive fixture in eight months for both teams and although Italy began this Championship with a 67-3 reversal to England, Griggs anticipates a tougher encounter on this occasion.

“I watched them play England and then I’ve seen them play Scotland on the weekend, they’re a much-improved side from October,” Griggs said.

Posted in International Rugby, Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – The Irish Independent – April 22 2021

Women’s Rugby Series: Jackie McCarthy-O’Brien – The42.ie – April 21 2021

‘In sport, I could walk like a giant. Outside it, my head went down:’ The remarkable life of Jackie McCarthy-O’Brien

In the penultimate instalment of our ‘Trailblazers’ series, we speak to the former Ireland rugby and soccer international who led the way for mixed race players.

‘TRAILBLAZERS’ IS OUR new series, telling the unheard stories of the women who fought for recognition in Irish rugby, and those who brought the sport to where it is today.

With Guinness – a proud sponsor of the Women’s Six Nations – The42 is paying tribute to their achievements, shining a light on the challenges they overcame, and looking ahead to what’s next for women’s rugby in Ireland.

In the penultimate instalment, Daire Walsh speaks to Jackie McCarthy-O’Brien about her unique journey in the game.

“Paying out of their own pockets, trying to get pitches. Trying to get referees. Buying their own jerseys. Really wanting to have a women’s international team. They for me were the giants and I think the teams of today are really standing on their shoulders.”

Having seen the foundations laid by the first Irish rugby side in 1993, Jackie McCarthy-O’Brien picked up the baton and ran with it – breaking down new barriers and becoming a trailblazer in her own right.

Born in Birmingham to an Irish mother and a Jamaican father, McCarthy-O’Brien moved to Limerick with the former when she was just a month old and has been there ever since.

Placed in an industrial school for the first five years of her life, she eventually settled in the suburb of Kileely following her mother’s marriage to Mickey O’Brien – an All-Ireland handball champion whom she considers to be her real father – in 1966.

She was the first female soccer player of mixed race to represent the Republic of Ireland and later repeated this feat in rugby union when making her debut for the Irish women’s national team in the spring of 1997.

Becoming a groundbreaking dual international may have been more by accident than design, but it’s a path she was happy to take.

“What happened was, a bit like Paul McGrath, the knees started to go from the hard ground in the soccer,” McCarthy-O’Brien explains. “Ladies only got the pitches when the men’s season was over. So I retired from soccer completely at 32 or 33.

“I went to Old Crescent here in Limerick to coach a team. I wanted to stay in sport, I was still super fit, but the knees were just giving me jib. One night, some other coach turned up so I fell in just to do a [rugby] session. The next thing he said ‘you’re signed. You’re a second row. You’re tall, you’re thin. You’ve got good strength.’

“I think within six months I made the Munster team. Then I was spotted by the Irish manager and joined the national team. It was a softer ground. I had also done a lot of weights on my knees and got back to a fitness that was good enough to play internationally.”

As one of very few children from a mixed race background in her locality, she admits that growing up on the streets of the Treaty county wasn’t easy.

“It was a lonely time, to be honest. We would have been the exotic oddity around the town. You would get stared at. Children would look at the black child. You very much stuck out like a sore thumb. Calling it racism seems a bit odd now at the age I’m at, because I think it was more curiosity.”

McCarthy-O’Brien is therefore eternally grateful to her stepdad for introducing her to sport at such a young age, something that acted as a great release from the troubles of the everyday world.

“My Dad recognised early on that I was very athletic. Being good at sport was my saving grace because off the pitch I was just the black kid. On the soccer pitch, I could put the ball in the back of the net and all of a sudden it was ‘did you see that young one?’.

“In sport, I could walk like a giant. Outside of it, my head went down. That for me would have been an enlightening moment – that I didn’t have to be the shy kid on the pitch.”

By the time McCarthy-O’Brien transitioned to the oval ball game – a sport that had been non-existent for girls and women alike during her youth – in the mid-1990s, Irish society was becoming more diverse.

Even if some of the old attitudes remained, there was more acceptance of people from different backgrounds in all walks of life. This led to a richly rewarding second chapter in her unique sporting career.

“Things had moved on. We had an influx of refugees and asylum seekers to Ireland, but even within that, it brought racism as well. It seemed to come in a little bit more, but I was very much protected by the people of Limerick.

“It’s a sports mad, crazy city. Once you’re good, they take you to their heart and you’re more accepted. I would say when we travelled away, outside of Ireland, then you would find it [racism] a little bit more. ‘What is a black person doing on a white team?’

“But my team-mates looked after me. I made friends [in rugby] that are friends for life. Some from New Zealand, some from Australia – all over. That had come to live in Ireland and represented Ireland.”

In total, McCarthy-O’Brien made 13 appearances in green – matching her caps haul with the Ireland women’s soccer team. This included outings in the Home Nations Championship, the 1997 European Championship in France and the 1998 World Cup in the Netherlands.

In the aftermath of the latter – where she scored a try in a victory against the host nation – she decided to announce her retirement from international rugby. She continued to line out at club level for Shannon, with whom she won a Women’s All-Ireland League title (just shy of her 40th birthday) in 2001.

As has been well documented, it was a long time before McCarthy-O’Brien and her compatriots from this era received their Ireland caps. Finally – in a ceremony held at the Aviva Stadium in March 2018 – she was afforded full recognition for her commitment to the cause.

“That really was a fantastic year, because we went up to Malone the August before that to play Legends versus England and got a 12-12 draw. That was quickly followed by the caps.”

Now a painter and decorator by trade, she was listed amongst the 1997 group on the day, having made her international bow in that year’s Home Nations Championship against Wales in Bridgend.

This was the endpoint of a long campaign spearheaded by some of the country’s earliest internationals, who had fought relentlessly to give the women’s game an equal footing within the rugby fraternity. Without their innovation, McCarthy-O’Brien is adamant she wouldn’t have been able to create her own piece of history.

“That was an amazing night,” she adds. “They really made us feel like ‘I’m as much an international as Paul O’Connell or Brian O’Driscoll’.

“To be presented with your caps and seeing so many of the ex-players, it was an acknowledgement and a recognition. I’m not speaking of myself, I’m speaking of the girls from ’93 who started the women’s game.”

Although McCarthy-O’Brien was more than content to blaze a trail in women’s rugby, she is greatly encouraged by those who have followed in her footsteps. Born and raised in England to a Nigerian father and a mother from Lisburn in Co. Antrim, Sophie Spence made her Ireland debut in 2012 and went on to win two Six Nations Championships – including the Grand Slam success of 2013.

Others such as Lauren Day and current international star Linda Djougang (who moved to Ireland from her native Cameroon at age nine) have featured in recent years, but McCarthy-O’Brien feels the emergence of Spence was an important step forward in the quest to get more players from a mixed race upbringing into the sport.

“With the likes of Sophie and the other black players on the Irish team, young girls now have a role model to look up to. If you want to promote and get more ethnicities into it, you need to bring players like Sophie to the fore. I think that happened when she was playing. She was very much out there and used as a spokesperson for the team at times.”

There is always scope for participation levels amongst ethnic minorities to increase across all levels of rugby, leading to a point where it becomes the accepted norm rather than the exception. Yet McCarthy-O’Brien insists the sport needs to be cautious in how they approach this particular issue.

“It’s society as a whole being accepting of people,” McCarthy-O’Brien says. “I think it will happen, but it will be a society that will change rather than the game itself.

“Like with everything, it’s the visibility of these players for the children to say ‘okay, who am I going to emulate?’. You like to gravitate towards somebody that you can see yourself in. I think if we do have players of colour playing for Ireland and they are made more visible, then I think the younger generation will come in and feel ‘well, this isn’t an all-white team’.

“No kid wants to join the club where they’re the only one. I grew up the whole of my sporting life being the only one. If you’ve got somebody else there, it will become more visible. I don’t think there are as many barriers to stop young children from mixed backgrounds coming in nowadays.

“I think the clubs are very aware and very welcoming of children of all races and backgrounds to play. It will just take time for society to catch up on what is acceptable and what isn’t for children of mixed race to feel more comfortable being in that sporting environment.”

Daire Walsh

Posted in International Rugby, Rugby Interview, Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Rugby Series: Jackie McCarthy-O’Brien – The42.ie – April 21 2021

Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – The Irish Examiner – April 21 2021

Adam Griggs: AIL and inter-pros key to closing the gap on England and France

Having begun their Six Nations campaign with an encouraging bonus triumph over Wales, a chastening 56-15 defeat at the hands of the French in Dublin last Saturday brought Ireland back down to earth

Ireland head coach Adam Griggs has said establishing a consistent women’s rugby culture from grassroots level upwards will be the key to closing the gap to England and France on the international stage.

Having begun their Six Nations campaign with an encouraging bonus triumph over Wales, a chastening 56-15 defeat at the hands of the French in Dublin last Saturday brought Ireland back down to earth. While bright prospects like Beibhinn Parsons and Dorothy Wall took up the sport at a young age, there are multiple examples of these kinds of players in the Championship’s top-two sides.

“If you look at some of the players, say just for France because we’ve come off the back of playing them. You have players that are immersed in that rugby culture from four or five years old,” Griggs explained.

“Until we can really grow those numbers right from the bottom up and through into the domestic league, it will take some time [to close the gap]. I do think we’ve got a core of players now that are in this group, who have started that journey into international rugby. We know that if you can get that structure right, it does produce top quality players.”

Domestic women’s rugby has been non-existent in Ireland during recent months, with the Women’s All-Ireland League not permitted to take place under current restrictions. In a post-Covid world, Griggs feels it is essential that this competition – along with the inter-provincial series – is used as the platform to grow the game at adult level.

“I don’t run those competitions or organise them. At the same time, I do believe that both those sides of it – AIL and the inter-provincial series – will help us select players that are of a competitive nature and are ready to step up into the international scene.

“Ultimately our inter-provincial series is at a level where in England you have Saracens, Harlequins and those sorts of teams. You can see that level of competition is driving their international team.”

For the time being, Griggs’ focus will be on guiding his side to victory over Italy in this weekend’s third/fourth place play-off. After naming the same starting line-up for Ireland’s two games to date in a restructured Six Nations, the New Zealander acknowledged he is now likely to alter his match day selection in the wake of their heavy reversal to France.

“I think we have to look at the performance from week to week. We’ve said we’ve got a competitive group. We’ll see how we train in the early part of this week, before we make those decisions. At the same time, we have to keep an eye on the future as well.

“If players have had a shot a couple of times, I think this would be a good time to look at other options. We haven’t made any decisions just yet, but you’re there to perform. If you don’t, we’ve got other players that are ready to step up,” Griggs added.

Posted in International Rugby, Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – The Irish Examiner – April 21 2021

Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – The Irish Independent – April 21 2021

Moore pushing for slot as Griggs aims to finish on a high

Daire Walsh

After spending the last couple of days dwelling on a chastening home defeat at the hands of France, Ireland women’s head coach Adam Griggs has now switched his attention to finishing a restructured Six Nations Championship on a high.

Having begun their campaign with a convincing Pool ‘B’ triumph over Wales, a comprehensive 56-15 defeat to the French in Donnybrook last Saturday brought Ireland crashing back down to earth. However, there is a silver lining for Griggs’ charges in the form of a third/fourth place play-off against Italy this weekend.

“We spoke about it as a group. All our coaches have played rugby. We’ve all been in that situation before, where things don’t go your way. The mind and the body are pretty beat up in the early part of this week, but that’s for us as a group to make sure we can bounce back,” Griggs remarked yesterday. “It probably would have been very frustrating for us if that [the France game] was our last performance.

“We’ve got to look at the positive side, that we have a chance to rectify some of the things that went wrong and really try and keep it positive. Because we know we are better than last week.”

Following their comprehensive 45-0 bonus-point success over Wales, Griggs kept faith with the same starting line-up for the visit of France to Dublin last weekend, but the New Zealand native revealed he is likely to make alterations for Saturday’s game.

“We’ll see how we train in the early part of this week, before we make those decisions. At the same time, we have to keep an eye on the future as well. You’re there to perform. If you don’t, we’ve got other players that are ready to step up.”

Of the five uncapped players that were named in the 35-strong squad for the tournament, Grace Moore is the only one yet to make her Ireland debut in this window. While acknowledging she is still trying to find her feet at the higher grade, Griggs said the Railway Union back-row is pushing hard for inclusion in his match-day squad.

“It’s just making sure she understands what it takes in terms of preparation in a Test match week. Again, it’s very different to just coming into camp on the weekend. There’s a lot more homework that has to go on when you’re preparing for opposition,” Griggs added. “Grace is taking that with both hands at the moment. She has been training really well and she fits into the group well. There’s every chance.”

Posted in International Rugby, Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – The Irish Independent – April 21 2021

Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – Irishrugby.ie – April 21 2021

Griggs: It’s A Good Weekend To Really See Where We’re At

By Daire Walsh

Now that the dust has settled on last weekend’s defeat to France, Ireland Women’s head coach Adam Griggs is fully focused on delivering a positive result against Italy in Saturday’s 3rd-4th place Six Nations play-off.

Following a convincing 45-0 bonus point victory over Wales in their opening Pool B game, Ireland were on the receiving end of a 56-15 home loss to the French.

Having had mixed form to date in this year’s shortened Championship, Griggs knows how important it would be to end their campaign on a high.

“We’re targeting a victory. We’ve looked at the last couple of games we’ve played against Italy, they beat us on their home patch and last October we beat them,” said, Griggs speaking during today’s remote press conference.

“The way we see this, it sets it up nicely to see what our standards are and what our level is going into the summer and into the (Rugby) World Cup qualifiers.

“Obviously Italy will be an opposition (team) for us that we’ll have to come across. It’s a good weekend for us to really see where we’re at.”

While the main ambition for 2021 will be securing a place in next year’s rescheduled World Cup tournament in New Zealand, the same is true for Ireland’s opponents this weekend.

The Italians are also set to compete in the European qualifier series for the World Cup later this year, and Griggs acknowledged this adds an extra layer to an already exciting fixture.

“I think it kind of goes hand-in-hand for us. We definitely want a performance and we believe that if we can perform as well as we know we can, we’ll get the result.

“Obviously that leaves a marker going into the summer. I think they go hand-in-hand at the moment. We’re excited by it and we want to make sure we finish on a high.”

Six Nations runners-up as recently as 2019, Italy sent out a reminder of their quality by beating Scotland 41-20 in Glasgow last Saturday. Having already faced them on three separate occasions as Ireland boss, Griggs was not the least bit surprised to see the Azzurre coming away with a win last week.

“We thought looking at Italy’s performance against England, while they didn’t quite show on the scoreboard, they had some really bright patches in their game against a very strong England side.

“I thought that they would certainly bring it to Scotland and once I saw that final result, it wasn’t too surprising to be honest,” admitted the New Zealander.

While disappointment still lingers for Griggs and his squad from their eight-try reversal against France, he believes that a third place finish would make for a solid Six Nations overall.

“You’ve got to look at it and if we can manage to perform this weekend and get that third place, we’ve won two from three games.

“Albeit France is a different kettle of fish, we know that performance-wise. That should lend itself to a result and you can’t ask for much more than two from three.”

Although England and France are generally accepted to be the best two teams in the tournament, Griggs feels his charges could have been a lot closer to the latter at Energia Park last Saturday.

He believes some of the mistakes made by Ireland on the day were self-inflicted and is hopeful this can be addressed in the build-up to the Championship’s much-anticipated ‘Super Saturday’.

“I’ve obviously reviewed the game a couple of times now and in terms of our performance, like every coach and group, we analyse France.

“We set targets and markers where we thought we could exploit them and we weren’t on our game. We didn’t use the actions that we had spoken about that we thought could put them under pressure.

“Not saying that the result could have changed that, but we certainly didn’t do ourselves any favours as a collective. That’s something we’ve got to target this week to improve on.

“We do our due diligence with our reviews and our previews of opposition, and it’s just about putting that on the field into a performance.”

One of the brightest individual displays in a green jersey last weekend came from Sevens convert Stacey Flood. On just her second 15s international appearance, Flood replaced Hannah Tyrrell at out-half in the second half and was a bright spark in possession for the hosts.

She kicked a brilliant conversion of Emma Hooban’s closing try and combined to good effect with fellow replacement Emily Lane at half-back. Griggs has also worked with the Dubliner in the Sevens set-up and is confident she can develop further at this level.

“Stacey is obviously a proven performer on the Sevens series. What we like about her is the way that she can see the game. She’s got a really good rugby IQ, she’s been playing it for a long time at a high level,” he explained.

“The last couple of performances from her have been top-notch, coming off the bench and adding impact, which we’ve asked her to do.

“What we like about her is she plays heads up rugby and she’s starting to learn more and more that in the 15s game, there is still a framework that we can work off, but it still allows for her to express herself and show some of that talent she has.”

Posted in International Rugby, Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Six Nations Championship Build-Up To Italy Home: Adam Griggs – Irishrugby.ie – April 21 2021

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: St Patrick’s Athletic V Waterford – The Irish Independent – April 21 2021

St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Waterford 0

Darragh Burns’ second-minute goal at Richmond Park was enough to give St Patrick’s Athletic victory against Waterford in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

This moves the Saints onto 14 points towards the summit of the table, with defending champions Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers marginally in front of them on goal difference.

Despite being much-changed from their away draw with Dundalk on Saturday, Pat’s immediately took the game to their struggling southern opponents. Burns was drafted into the team at right wing-back and his left-footed effort deflected off Waterford defender Kyle Ferguson for a second-minute opener.

This was a dream start for the Saints and they continued to create chances as the action progressed. Waterford eventually grew into the game, but Pat’s remained comfortable and ultimately brought a one-goal cushion into the interval.

Having coughed up a late equaliser to Dundalk three days earlier, Pat’s were eager for a second to prevent a similar backlash by their latest opponents. Paul Martin denied Chris Forrester with a low save, before Ronan Coughlan had a goal ruled out on 67 minutes for a foul on the Waterford goalkeeper.

An insurance score didn’t materialise in the end for Stephen O’Donnell’s men but with skipper Ian Bermingham expertly marshalling their defence, they held on to extend their unbeaten start to the season.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC – Jaros; Desmond, Barrett, Bermingham; Burns, Forrester, Lewis (Lennon 81), Griffin (Mountney 53); McCormack (Smith 62), Coughlan, King (Benson h/t).

WATERFORD – Martin, Power, Ferguson, Evans, Mascoll; O’Keeffe (Stafford 72), O’Reilly, Sobowale, Griffin (Mutswunguma 62); Martin, Waite.

REF – G Kelly (Cork).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: St Patrick’s Athletic V Waterford – The Irish Independent – April 21 2021

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: St Patrick’s Athletic V Waterford – The Irish Times – April 21 2021

St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Waterford 0

Darragh Burns’ second minute goal at Richmond Park was enough to give St Patrick’s Athletic victory against Waterford in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

This moves the Saints onto 14 points towards the summit of the table, with defending champions Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers marginally in front of them on goal difference.

Burns was drafted into the Pat’s team at right wing-back and his left-footed effort deflected off Waterford defender Kyle Ferguson for a second minute opener.

This was a dream start for the Saints and they continued to create chances as the action progressed. Waterford eventually grew into the game, but Pat’s remained comfortable and ultimately brought a one-goal cushion into the interval.

Having coughed up a late equaliser to Dundalk three days earlier, Pat’s were eager for a second to prevent a similar backlash by their latest opponents. Paul Martin denied Chris Forrester with a low save, before Ronan Coughlan had a goal ruled out on 67 minutes for a foul on the Waterford goalkeeper.

An insurance score didn’t materialise in the end for Stephen O’Donnell’s men but with skipper Ian Bermingham expertly marshalling their defence, they held on to extend their unbeaten start to the season.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Jaros; Desmond, Barrett, Bermingham; Burns, Forrester, Lewis (Lennon, 81 mins), Griffin (Mountney, 53 mins); McCormack (Smith, 62 mins), Coughlan, King (Benson, 46 mins).

Waterford: Martin, Power, Ferguson, Evans, Mascoll; O’Keeffe (Stafford, 72 mins), O’Reilly, Sobowale, Griffin (Mutswunguma, 62 mins); Martin, Waite.

Referee: G Kelly (Cork).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: St Patrick’s Athletic V Waterford – The Irish Times – April 21 2021