4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
"Despite showing flashes of this in the second half, which saw us cross their try line twice, we did not show the consistency required for the 80 minutes which would have put us in contention in the game.
"Belvedere put in a performance in the first forty minutes that showed us exactly why they are top of the table and why they will be playing in Division One next season.
As captain, I was proud of our guys in the dressing room afterwards - we showed a lot of guts in the second half to respond to Belvedere's early onslaught, when a lot of teams may have thrown in the towel at that stage. We eventually lost 32-14.
"Bective lay ahead for us, the following Saturday, and it was another away game, albeit just a short trip across the Liffey again, this time to Donnybrook. Despite a good start to the week, as the game drew closer, our injury list grew longer and longer and by kick-off time at 2.30pm, we had lost six of the guys who had started against Belvedere the previous week.
"While the players who stood in are more than capable on their day, to have such a volume of changes in such a short space of time is challenging for the best of teams. In saying that, we started okay and ourselves and Bective swapped tries with our centre Ronan Murphy finishing off one of our better moves this season.
"We were 13-8 down at the break with a slight breeze at our backs for the second half. Then followed our worst 40 minutes of the season to date. Nothing can be taken away from Bective for capitalizing on this as they showed some clinical finishing of their own to romp home, scoring an impressive 44 points on the way.
"There is no hiding away from the fact that it was the most dejected post-match dressing room this season and for good reason.
"It is important to take lessons from every game and the lessons I took from theses two defeats are more general ones - to gain promotion up to Division One next season we will have to find the consistency of producing our 'A' game on a weekly basis with no excuses allowed.
"I also learnt that defeats like the one to Belvedere can be character-building exercises. We know we are not a million miles away from where they are at.
"The fact remains, no team becomes a bad team overnight and it is now up to everyone in our squad to realise this and to move on and look towards our next game.
"It only takes one win to turn things around and with two home fixtures ahead of us, albeit against tough opposition - Young Munster and Old Crescent - it is certainly an opportunity for us to finish off the season on a high and in a league position that is worthy of the effort which has been put in since last year.
"Historically, it can be the stage of the season where everything goes flat and the tempo for the remaining games fades away, but we have made commitments that this will not happen. There is a strong sense of there being unfinished business for us this season and we have three games left to put things right heading into the summer.
"Young Munster coming up to the JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds in Sutton for an AIB League match is a fixture we would have dreamed about only a few seasons ago - now it is a reality and plenty of incentive in itself to raise spirits and get our club buzzing at the prospect.
"There is plenty of international history being made at Croke Park this Saturday, there will be some more of the club variety in Sutton on Saturday, March 3."