Sunday 26 January 2020

Former Ireland mascot Bobbett debuts in green

Ireland 13 Wales 15

Judy Bobbett, once a mascot for the Irish women's team, made an impressive international debut in a losing effort against Wales at the Belfield Bowl yesterday.

"Judy is one of those ones coming through from the underage system," said coach Adam Griggs.

"Her family is very proud of here. She has grown up with rugby and you can see that in her Rugby IQ, her knowledge and her skill.

"That's that new breed of player coming through for us, as we focus in building depth."

Bobbett was joined on debut by replacements Victoria Dabanovich-O'Mahony, Katie O'Dwyer, Niamh Ní Dhroma and Hannah O'Connor.

Griggs will review the reasons for Ireland's inability to hold what they had, first giving up a 10-point lead and then a three-point advantage with the last Welsh attack of the game.

Prop Linda Djougang benefited from full-back Eimear Considine's searing burst at the end of the first-quarter to establish a 5-0 lead at the break.

They doubled the difference when Enya Breen straightened the line to wrongfoot a drifting defence in the 44th minute.

The fact that Ireland could convert neither of them came back to bite them after Robyn Wilkins slotted three and replacement Sioned Harries levelled it up with an explosive carry in the 68th minute, converted by Wilkins.

Ireland did restore an edge from Ellen Murphy's penalty, before Wales replacement Kiera Bevan had the final say in the right corner.

It was far better coach Adam Griggs deal with the fallout from losing one they should have won in November rather than after the turn of the year in the Six Nations.

"We're still thoroughly disappointed," he said.

"The last six weeks of our preparation has been building towards this test match at home in front of our friends and family.

"The way the victory came for Wales made it that much harder to take."

Frustratingly, Ireland wasted promising positions, especially in the first hour of the contest.

Too many times, Ireland did take Wales to breaking point without putting the finishing touches to their good approach work.

As the game wore on, the visitors broke the defence with increasing regularity, a warning of what was to come.

"Our intensity just dropped off a little. We started to soak tackles, which gave them the front-foot ball that they wanted.

"Ultimately, we have to remain focussed and keep our intensity for the full 80 minutes."

IRELAND: E Considine; L Delany, E Breen (M Claffey 65), S Naoupu, B Parsons; E Murphy, N Cronin (K Dane 48); L Feely (K O'Dwyer 48), C Moloney (V Dabanovich-O'Manony 48), L Djougang, N Fryday, J Bobbett (H O'Connor 46), C Griffin (capt), E McMahon, A Caplice (N N Dhroma 65).

WALES: K Powell; P Randall (R O'Loughlin 75), A Donovan (M Webb 58), R Wilkins, C Keight; E Snowsill, F Lewis K Bevan 49); G Pyrs, K Jones (C Phillips 68), A Evans, N John, G Crabb, A Callender (S Harries 58), B Lewis, S Lillicrap (capt).

Referee: R Mahoney, New Zealand.


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