Monday 18 December 2017

Ireland's scrummy Triple Crown hopefuls need a new home, says Fiona

RUGBY legend Fiona Coughlan has called for the establishment of permanent grounds for the national women's team.

The former captain who led the Irish team to World Cup glory has said that the size of the fan base and the rising talent in the game mean that larger grounds are necessary.

"I think we have outgrown Asbourne," Ms Coughlan told the Herald.

"I think it's important that it stays in the Dublin area if you want to maximise the number of people going.

"The likes of Donnybrook would probably be the perfect size, Tallaght stadium, those kinds of areas that would be easily accessible, and I'm saying that not just for the Irish fans but for fans coming in from other teams," she said.

A campaign called Give the Irish Women's Rugby Team a Proper Venue has already been launched to try and muster support, with the Facebook page already attracting over 2,000 likes.

Ms Coughlan (34) said that larger grounds would "maximise spectator potential" and that the improvement in the game meant that change was now necessary.


"With all due respect to Asbourne, it has been a brilliant home when really no one else wanted us," she said.

"At the time it was just family and close friends going to support us but now we actually have a fan base not just coming to home games but away games as well, so it would be lovely to have a place to call home that would be great for the spectators as well."

RTE2 will have live coverage of the game on Sunday as the Irish Women travel to Cumbernauld outside Glasgow to take on Scotland.

Ireland will be looking to seal the Triple Crown and possibly claim the Six Nations championship with a win over the hosts.

The game kicks off at 1.00pm with coverage on RTE2 from 12.45pm.

The Scotland and Ireland women round off a busy weekend of live rugby on RTE2 with a live triple-header of the final day's RBS Six Nations action on Saturday as the championship goes down to the wire.

The former captain believes the Irish will "definitely beat Scotland by a significant amount" but said she hopes the team can score enough points to get ahead of France and England.

Ms Coughlan, who is also a maths teacher, has now become the brand ambassador for Dacia Ireland, picking up the keys to her new Duster yesterday.

Meanwhile the IRFU has announced that it is bidding for the 2017 World Cup and that Ms Coughlan will play an important ambassadorial role. The Clontarf native, who retired from the Ireland side, will provide commentary.


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