LARISSA MULDOON AND Nora Stapleton were part of the Ireland team who lost out to a late England try in yesterday’s November International at Twickenham.
England 8-3 Ireland
Izzy Noel-Smith’s 78th-minute try from a lineout maul was the difference between the sides as the Ireland Women were edged out 8-3 by their English counterparts in rain-soaked London.
Muldoon (pictured above), from Cappry, was scrum-half, while Fahan native Stapleton came out at out-half just after the hour-mark. Katie Norris from Moville was also part of the replacements.
Despite the result, Ireland head coach Tom Tierney and his players can take a lot from a very competitive performance at the Twickenham Stoop, with six starters and three replacements making their debuts.
Ireland’s historic first autumn international was dictated by very wet conditions in the opening half, a lone penalty from Lauren Cattell giving the home side a 3-0 lead at the break.
Ireland captain Niamh Briggs missed a difficult first shot at the posts in the 43rd minute and the girls in green failed to profit from a prolonged attacking spell while England hooker Emma Croker was in the sin-bin.
The visitors were more inventive in attack, Sene Naoupu distributing well in midfield and looking to get the strong-running Jackie Shiels and Mairead Coyne involved, and Briggs deservedly booted them level in the 73rd minute. However, the England pack had the decisive say when they piled through from a five-metre lineout with replacement Noel-Smith touching down in the right corner.
England: Sarah McKenna (Saracens); Katie Mason (Bristol), Lauren Cattell (Saracens), Ceri Large (Worcester), Charlotte Clapp (Saracens); Emily Scott (Thurrock), La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks); Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Emma Croker (Richmond), Justine Lucas (Lichfield), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), Marlie Packer (Wasps), Sarah Hunter (Bristol) (capt). Replacements: Amy Cokayne (Lichfield), Vickii Cornborough (Richmond), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol), Leanne Riley (Richmond), Rachel Lund (Worcester), Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks).
Ireland: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt); Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock/Leinster), Aine Donnelly (Cill Dara/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile), Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht); Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht), Larissa Muldoon (Skewen); Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (Toulouse), Heather O’Brien (Toulouse). Replacements used: Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht) for Muldoon, Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Donnelly (both 61 mins), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster) for O’Reilly, Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster) for Anthony (both 67). Not used: Zoe Grattage (Tralee/Munster), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Katie Norris (Blackrock/Leinster), Claire McLaughlin (Queen’s University/Ulster).