There were Exiles in action for the Ireland Under-20, Women’s and men’s teams over the weekend.
The weekend had a marvellous start on Friday for some of the numerous Exiles on Ireland teams, with the Under-20s gaining a momentous victory over England in Athlone – 16-15.
To the fore were number 8 Conor Joyce from Solihull, now playing with Ulster, and hooker George McGuigan of Newcastle Falcons. They were joined by prop Ryan Furness of Worcester Warriors after half-an-hour’s play.
Ireland’s Women went one better on Saturday at Ashbourne, defeating England 25-0, an historic triumph indeed over opponents who had put 76 points on Scotland the previous weekend.
England had beaten New Zealand in a three-match series in the autumn, and were the reigning Six Nations Grand Slam champions.
Exiles were prominent in this marvellous performance, with Lynne Cantwell (Richmond) at outside centre, Larissa Muldoon (Cardiff Metropolitan University) at scrum half, Sophie Spence (Mowden Park Sharks) at lock, Claire Molloy (Bristol) in the back row, and Lauren Day (Waterloo) among the replacements.
It was back to the grindstone, unfortunately, on Sunday, when an awful day’s weather in Dublin made the men’s Six Nations match into a pitch battle which England won 12-6.
Two Exiles contributed to the cause, none more so than lock Mike McCarthy (now with Connacht), who played himself to a standstill for the 80 minutes, while tighthead prop Declan Fitzpatrick (now with Ulster) came on near the end.
All in all, we think it is a marvellous contribution to Irish rugby that the above have shown on a very important weekend and we are very proud of them.