IRELAND 17 WALES 27
World Cup hosts Ireland failed to secure autmoatic qualification for the 2021 tournament after losing the seventh place play-off final to Six Nations rivals Wales at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast.
Except for a solid opening 10 minutes Ireland were on the backfoot throughout and following the game, coach Tom Tierney, whose contract is due to end in November, confirmed it was his last game in that position.
Ireland started the match camped on the try line and following a driving maul captain Paula Fitzpatrick crossed for the opening score, converted by Nora Stapleton.
Wales were soon back into things as fly-half Robyn Wilkins slotted over a penalty on 26 minutes before Caryl Thomas touched down after Wales managed a powerful driving maul of their own, with Wilkins’ conversion giving Wales a slender 10-7 advantage at the break.
Quick-thinking by Sioned Harries then put Wales further in front after she touched down following a five metre scrum and Wilkins again added the extras.
Wales sensed their supremacy was beginning to tell and they gave themselves a cushion when Carys Phillips added another try as Ireland struggled with ill-discipline and saw their captain yellow-carded.
Wales held a 22-7 advantage for more than 20 minutes in the second half before Lindsay Peat reduced the arrears after a five metre scrum.
However, hopes of a comeback were dashed when replacement Shona Powell-Hughes spotted a gap and gave Wales a huge advantage with 10 minutes remaining.
Ireland needed a huge response, but only managed to score through Katie Fitzhenry’s consolation try after hard work from the Irish forwards.
Ireland: Hannah Tyrrell; Eimear Considine, Katie Fitzhenry, Jeamie Deacon, Alison Miller; Nora Stapleton, Nicole Cronin; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Ailis Egan; Ciara Cooney, Marie-Louise Reilly; Paula Fitzpatrick (capt), Ciara Griffin, Heather O’Brien.
Replacements: Leah Lyons, Isle Van Staden, Ciara O’Connor, Sophie Spence, Ashleigh Baxter, Larissa Muldoon, Sene Naoupu, Mairead Coyne.
Wales: Elinor Snowsill; Elen Evans, Gemma Rowland, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce; Robyn Wilkins, Keira Bevan; Caryl Thomas, Carys Phillips (capt), Amy Evans; Siwan Lillicrap, Mel Clay; Alisha Butchers, Rachel Taylor, Sioned Harries
Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Gwenllian Pyrs, Cerys Hale, Shona Powell-Hughes, Lleucu George, Sian Moore, India Berbillion, Jodie Evans