After helping Ireland to claim third place in the Women’s Six Nations, young flanker Dorothy Wall admitted there were plusses and minuses to the campaign overall.
Just like in their bonus point win over Wales at the beginning of the tournament, Wall crossed the whitewash to propel Adam Griggs’ side towards a 25-5 play-off win over Italy.
The next few weeks will give the squad an opportunity to assess the Championship as a whole, before pushing forward into the Rugby World Cup qualifier series later in the year.
Speaking to the media after the Italy game at Energia Park, Wall reflected: “I think some things went our way and others didn’t. We probably grew through that period.
“There was a huge hype around the first match and it went our way. The second match (against France) didn’t, and we finished with a win. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but we finished on the right side of it.
“We have a huge 18 months ahead of us. This is a good time to look back and review what we did well, what we didn’t do well, and how we can become better as a team.”
Having made her Ireland 15s debut as a replacement in the opening round of last year’s Six Nations (a home win over Scotland), Wall then established herself in the team when Italy came to town in a rearranged fixture last October.
She has grown significantly as a player since then and the 20-year-old Tipperary native – who turns 21 next month – feels the past few weeks has been a major learning curve in her fledgling international career.
I hadn’t really played 80 minutes of international rugby before this campaign. A full 80 minutes of senior international rugby was definitely an adjustment, but I loved it.”
When Wall made her Irish bow in February of last year, it was as a half-time replacement for Ireland captain Ciara Griffin. The Kerry woman was forced off with a head injury 13 minutes into yesterday’s match, with Wall’s Blackrock club-mate Hannah O’Connor taking her place.
While it is always a comfort playing alongside such a leader and driving force as Grifin, she was more than happy to pack down with O’Connor in Griffin’s absence.
“Obviously it’s a big blow losing your captain very early in the game, but the way that we train and the way we know each other, Hannah slotted right in and made it seamless for us all.
“I personally love playing with her. It was a huge blow to have ‘Junior’ (Griffin) gone and i think we were all like, ‘oh God’, but Hannah came in and absolutely smashed it so couldn’t be happier.
“It’s such a great team and you can trust every single player on the pitch. I back every girl in that squad and in the wider squad as well to do a job for us.”
Four tries and a 20-point gap made it a convincing victory in the end, but Ireland were frustrated with the number of errors in possession they racked up over the course of the game.
Yet, this is not something that Wall was overly concerned about when looking back at the contest. The powerful Munster forward added:
To be honest, mistakes happen. It’s how you recover from them, how we look at our own processes and go again.
“Errors happen, we always review it. We don’t get bogged down by it. Fine we had mistakes, but we won the game. We’ll look at that after.”