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Ireland Women Chase Third Place Finish

Ireland Women Chase Third Place Finish

Ireland will play France in their final game at the FIRA-AER Europeans Women’s Championship this weekend with the winners guaranteed a third place finish in the 14-team competition.

A victory would be a massive boost to Ireland as it would earn them a first ever win over France as well as their best finish in the competition.

Coach Simon Broughton has made a raft of changes to the team to play France on Saturday night from the side which lost to England in midweek. His choices ensure that every player in squad has gotten a start over the three games.

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In the backs, Helen Brosnan gets her first start for Ireland after she won her first cap coming off the bench during the week while there are also pack changes with squad captain Fiona Coghlan regaining her place in the front row.

Coghlan insisted that a win over France was hugely achievable. She said: “We’ve pushed them very closely in the past two years so we are confident we can do it but we’ve got to play for the full 80 minutes and not in patches like we did against England during the week.

“France have a superb back-line and they have plenty of threats but we weren’t far off them earlier this year so we feel we could do well and a win would be a great way to end our time here.”

With the competition being used to strengthen the Irish squad, she added: “We’ve now got 26 players who can compete very well for places in the Six Nations squad next year and it will all be a bonus as we look towards the World Cup in 2010. There has been plenty of development on this trip and we’ve learned a lot from the experience.”

IRELAND WOMEN’S TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v France, FIRA-AER Women’s European Championship, 3rd-4th place play-off, Amsterdam, Saturday, May 24):

Niamh Briggs (Clonmel); Jeannette Feighery (UL Bohemians), Lynne Cantwell (UL Bohemians), Grace Davitt (Boyne), Helen Brosnan (Highfield); Jo O’Sullivan (Richmond), Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians) (capt), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians), Emer McManamly (Blackrock), Kate O’Loughlin (Clonmel), Orla Brennan (Blackrock), Louise Austin (Blackrock), Carol Staunton (St. Mary’s), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians).

Replacements: Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians), Debbie Clarke (Blackrock), Eimear O’Sullivan (Highfield), Germaine Healy (Blackrock), Jess Limbert (Cooke), Marie Barrett (Highfield), Sinead Ryan (Blackrock), Jackie Shiels (Blackrock), Amy Davis (Cooke), Shannon Houston (Blackrock), Tania Rosser (Blackrock).