The Irish Women’s Rugby team registered another win in the course of their onward march at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup on the Castleisland side of Paris on Saturday.
Their 40 points to 5 victory over Kazakhstan means that they will now face England on Wednesday evening at 5pm (our time) for a place in the final. This is an encounter which will surely set the tournament alight for the Irish supporters at home and abroad.
Yesterday was a day which delighted Rugby fans here and brought the indifferent and the hurler on the ditch well onside.
The three wonderful tries by Sharon Lynch (2) and Siobhán Fleming’s scorcher struck a chord with the latter bands and the clash with the ‘old enemy’ will only tune that right in.
In a text last night, Sharon Lynch described her debut and inspired performance as “An Epic Day” – a day in which she gained her first International cap and to score two tries in a World Cup of your chosen sport. What more can you ask for?
What can one say about Siobhán Fleming that hasn’t been said. She certainly lived up to her nickname of ‘Flaming’ as she burned a track for the line for, as one commentator described it, ‘ The Try of the Tournament.’
It has often been said of the Irish men’s team in recent years that they put their bodies on the line. The Irish women are doing likewise and are just tearing into everything that moves with the ball to date. And the mounting toll of injury is a fair enough testament to that.
Denis ‘Pele’ Barry – an uncle of Sharon Lynch – was watching the match at No. 40 (Tom McCarthy’s) on Saturday afternoon so I decided to drop in and get a photograph of the historic occasion.
On my down I paused at Jim Barry’s grave in the grounds of the Church of St. Stephen – now The Ivy Leaf Art Centre – and I told him of how well his grand-daughter was doing in France.
I could imagine the feisty Jim replying: “Of course she is – why wouldn’t she.”
It was a kind of mind messaging. I didn’t want to be caught talking to Jim if someone came around the corner on the busy pathway. They mightn’t understand. They mightn’t want to. It would be better in the telling that there was another local man on his way to the ballroom.
A hundred yards away, at Tom McCarthy’s ‘Pele’ was, calm as always. Coming to terms with his ‘Uncle of the capped Sharon Lynch’ status and hoping that she would do herself justice on the field. He didn’t doubt her and he needn’t have worried.
He sipped his pint between slaps on the back and smiled with the satisfaction of a man who feels it in his bones that there are better days ahead.
Sharon’s delighted mom, Ellen was just back from France this Sunday evening and is hoping to fly out there again when (not if) the team makes its way past England on Wednesday at 5pm and into the final at the weekend.
“They’re not taking anything for granted but they’re not afraid of any team either – as you saw against New Zealand. They’re confident that they’ll make it to the final and I’m wired to the moon over it all,” said Ellen – on the very evening which will yield to the promise of a night lit by a beautiful full moon.
The Irish team lined out yesterday thus: Jackie Shiels, Richmond/Exile; Vikki McGinn, Blackrock/Leinster; Lynne Cantwell, Richmond/Exile, Captain; Grace Davitt, Cooke/Ulster; Hannah Casey, Saracens/Exile; Tania Rosser, Blackrock/Leinster; Larissa Muldoon, Bristol/Exile; Fiona Hayes, UL Bohemians/Munster; Gillian Bourke, UL Bohemians/Munster; Kerrie-Ann Craddock, Saracens/Exile; Laura Guest, Highfield/Munster; Orla Fitzsimons, St. Mary’s College/Leinster; Sharon Lynch, Old Belvedere/Leinster; Siobhan Fleming, Tralee/Munster and Paula Fitzpatrick, St. Mary’s College/Leinster.