The injury-enforced absence of captain Shannon Houston was keenly felt as the Ireland Women finished 11th in the Brive leg of the FIRA/AER European Women's Sevens Grand Prix Series over the weekend.
Combined with their efforts in Moscow last week, it meant that the Jon Skurr-coached Ireland squad were ranked eighth of the 12 competing teams at the end of the European Grand Prix Series.
The girls in green entered the back-to-back legs hoping to book a place in the Women's Sevens World Series requalification event in September, but results proved hard to come by and it is France and the Netherlands who will strive for World Series promotion in three months' time.
France, the Brive winners, and the Dutch side advance as Russia - European champions courtesy of two runners-up finishes - and England are already core teams on the World Series circuit.
The final placings in the European Grand Prix Series were: 1. Russia, 2. France, 3. England, 4. Netherlands, 5. Spain, 6. Portugal, 7. Italy, 8. Ireland, 9. Wales, 10. Germany, 11. Belgium, 12. Sweden.
It leaves Ireland relying on a wildcard entry to further their ambitions, with Skurr explaining that 'we now have to wait to see who will get the wildcard places'.
Reflecting on the last two weeks of competition, the Irish coach said: "We are disappointed by the results in Brive and Moscow and finishing eighth overall was below our expected level of performance.
"That said, we always have to remember that a large chunk of the squad has only been playing rugby for six months and this was always going to be a tough ask.
"Losing Shannon (Houston), our captain and most experienced player, the day before the tournament was a big blow to the squad. But Nicole Cronin, who took over the captaincy, did a great job and had a good tournament."
Ireland ended a four-match losing run in Brive by beating Sweden 19-7 in the 11th/12th place play-off on Sunday. They overturned a 7-0 deficit with stand-in skipper Cronin (2), who played with a bandaged left hand, and Martina McCarthy scoring the tries.
Earlier in the day they lost their Bowl semi-final to Wales, going down 22-0 despite the best efforts of Claire Keohane, Laura Lee Walsh and McCarthy amongst others.
The Ireland squad paid a visit to Monaghan last week and held an open training session in Monaghan RFC. We spoke to Andrew Trimble after the session which was attended by over 2,000 cheering supporters.
Keith Earls notched up two tries against Italy on Saturday - he has now scored five in his last four matches for Ireland. We spoke to him pitchside immediately after Ireland's 63-10 RBS 6 Nations victory.
Winger Eimear Considine, who won her first cap, and number 8 and captain Paula Fitzpatrick look forward to the second round of the Women's Six Nations and Ireland's clash with Italy in L'Aquila on Sunday (kick-off 1pm local time/12pm Irish time).
The Ireland Women and Under-20s scored dramatic late wins over their Scottish counterparts as part of a double header at Broadwood Stadium. Go behind the scenes on a rain-swept night in Cumbernauld with Irish Rugby TV.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt praised the squad's 'immense character' following the 27-24 GUINNESS Series success against Australia. Meanwhile, captain Rory Best reflects on 'an emotional day' as he made his 100th appearance for his country.
Irish Rugby TV brings you a behind the scenes look at Ireland's final GUINNESS Series game against Australia. Joe Schmidt's men marked captain Rory Best's 100th cap with a superb 27-24 victory over the Wallabies.
Saturday's GUINNESS Series clash with Australia marks Michael Kearney's last game as Ireland team manager. We spoke to him about five memorable years in the role. Watch out for a couple of special cameos!
Dick Spring, Chairman of Ireland's RWC 2023 Bid Oversight Board, and Bid Ambassador Brian O'Driscoll speak about their excitement at officially launching Ireland's bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. #Ireland2023
We're ready to create something legendary. A showcase for rugby nations old and new. A tournament that will grow the game globally, promote the values, spirit and ethos of rugby and will capture the world's imagination. #Ireland2023 - Liam Neeson gives voice to Ireland's bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023.
Tickets are now on sale for the first ever Women's November International Series to be held in the UCD Bowl. Kids go free with any adult tickets. Ireland will face world champions England, top ranked Canada and the Black Ferns of New Zealand.
Tournament Director Garrett Tubridy sets the scene for an exciting weekend of rugby at UCD where 16 Women's Sevens teams will battle it out at for one qualifying spot for the Rio Olympics. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie/sevens.