12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
IRELAND WOMEN 10 FRANCE WOMEN 13, St. Mary's College RFC
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jeannette Feighery, Fiona Coghlan
France: Tries: Christelle Le Duff, Melanie Gauffinet; Pen: Christelle Le Duff
Ireland's Women's side put memories of last week's disappointment in Wales behind them as they almost shocked World Cup semi-finalists France at Templeville Road.
Beaten 43-0 by Saturday's opposition at the World Cup in September, the Irish raised their game immeasurably, scoring a try in each half through Feighery and Coghlan.
But John O'Sullivan's side were denied a famous win when French centre Christelle Le Duff danced over for an unconverted try, five minutes from time.
Slow starters against the Welsh, Ireland showed much more willingness and confidence in their play to press the visitors right from the kick-off.
An excellent back line move, sparked by busy scrum half Louise Beamish, saw UL Bohs winger Feighery touch down in the tenth-minute.
Irish skipper Sarahjane Belton missed the difficult conversion, Le Duff replied soon after with a close range penalty and half-time came with the score line still 5-3 in the hosts' favour.
France struck for their first try of the afternoon on 65 minutes when replacement lock Melanie Gauffinet muscled over on a short drive. Again the conversion was missed and the home supporters were in raptures just two minutes later, when Ireland replied with their second try.
Pressurising the favourites into mistakes, the Irish won turnover ball and Bohs prop Coghlan showed great strength to make the line after a series of attacks.
Frustratingly though, the French backs strung the match-winning move together in the 75th-minute when Le Duff cut through. Showing great heart, the Irish pack rumbled forward and were twice back in the visitors' 22 but they ran out of time.
After only his second game at the helm, Cobh man O'Sullivan said: "That was a huge improvement on last week, I've very proud of the girls. They controlled a lot of the game and were very unlucky not to beat one of the best teams in the world.
"This performance will give us a lot of confidence. We pressed them and attacked them, played to our game plan and got two good tries. We've made good progress this week, we'll come together again for a training session next week and then it's England at Thomond Park."
Whilst admitting that he was "delighted" with the display of every player in his squad, he did single out try scorer Coughlan and the back row unit of Eimear O'Sullivan, Sinead Ryan and Orla Brennan for special praise.
The Irish take on England on Sunday, February 25 in Limerick (kick-off 2pm).