End of an era for Fiona Coghlan and Ireland

Lynne Cantwell ruled out with concussion, Jenny Murphy’s knee injury makes her a major doubt

Ireland head coach Philip Doyle after the World Cup semi-final defeat to England. “there is a huge chance to push on and really put women’s rugby in Ireland on a new standing.” Photograph: Inpho

Ireland head coach Philip Doyle after the World Cup semi-final defeat to England. “there is a huge chance to push on and really put women’s rugby in Ireland on a new standing.” Photograph: Inpho

Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 01:00

France v Ireland Stade Jean Bouin, Sunday, 3.30pm - Live TG4 and Sky Sports

No matter what, here ends the greatest era in Irish women’s rugby. Fiona Coghlan leads them out one last time.

There will always be two Grand Slam captains hailing from Clontarf but only one overcame New Zealand.

Others are departing as well, including coach Philip Doyle. “It is the end of an era but the start of a new one,” said Doyle. “I’m telling you, there is a huge chance to push on and really put women’s rugby in Ireland on a new standing. I just hope everyone involved grasps it and moves forward.

“The next World Cup is only three years away and it could be in Ireland. There is an awful lot of work to do as certain leaders will not be around. They have to be replaced, and quickly.”

Victory here and Ireland could be first seeds in 2017.

Lynne Cantwell has been ruled out with concussion while Jenny Murphy’s knee injury makes her a major doubt, ensuring a change in Ireland’s midfield dynamic. Hannah Casey is poised to play 13 with Jackie Shiels coming into the mix as well.

That’s also leaves a leadership void.

Nobody knows which French side will show up. Not even they do. The Canada defeat seems more traumatic for them than Ireland’s showing against England as they left it so late and almost salvaged a draw only to fall inches short.

“I’m not sure how France are going to react. Will they switch off and be disinterested or pick it up and try to prove a point?

“I know where we are coming from. Our mindset is to go out and prove a point to ourselves, firstly, and then to our supporters,” said Doyle.

There will be a dying surge of expressionism from France. They streaked into a 19-3 lead in Pau last March before completely switching off, only to recover enough to win 19-15.

“They’ve started the same team, more or less, four times now. It’s the usual craic with French crowds. Shut them up and they turn on their team. But we have an awful lot to prove in defence. The mindset is it’s all about us, not them.”

Beating France in Paris, that would be special, but this is game five after 17 long days.

IRELAND (PROBABLE): N Briggs; A Baxter, H Casey, G Davitt, A Miller; N Stapleton, T Rosser; F Coghlan (capt), G Bourke, A Egan; S Spence, ML Reilly; S Fleming, C Molloy, P Fitzpatrick. Verdict: France win.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.
From Monday 20th October 2014 we're changing how readers sign-in to comment, click here for more information.