Match Report:- French Police 16 - 12 Ireland Police

On the weekend of the Ireland International against France in Paris, Ireland Police Rugby embarked on their inaugural fixture against the French Police team on the 10th of February 2012.

The Ireland tour party was led by Chief Superintendent Eugene Corcoran. On Thursday the 9th of February His Excellency Paul Kavanagh, Ambassador of Ireland to France hosted a reception in the Irish Embassy, Paris for the touring party which proved one of the many highlights of the weekend.

The Ireland Police verses French Police was scheduled to take place at a stadium in Suresnes in the suburbs of Paris on the 10th of February 2012 however due to the freezing temperatures the game was moved to an artificial pitch in Port au Prince. The Minister of Tourism, Transport and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar TD, attended the fixture as part of his weekend schedule and visited the players in the dressing room prior to kick off.

This served to inspire the Irish players as both teams served up an outstanding game of skill and high drama. Played in freezing tempatures the French immediately took the game to the Irish, however the Irish defence stood firm with the back row of Howard, Dever and Broughall in outstanding form.

The Irish pack used their superior lineout to good advantage with a serious of aggressive mauls, resulting in a penalty on the 10 metre line. Paddy O’Toole slotted the penalty on 15 mins to calm early nerves, however the French had other ideas and after sustained pressure the French centre intercepted a pass as the Irish tried to clear their lines. From the resulting serious of rucks the French scored an unconverted try on 22 minutes.

From the restart superb pressure from the Irish locks, Gilmartin and Houston, turned the ball and strong carries from O’Shea and Moore midfield continued to pile pressure on the French. Gardiner and O’Toole at half backs were dictating play; from a clean ruck O’Toole put in a deft kick behind the French, the Irish fullback Darragh Hughes getting the touch down resulting in a try (27 minutes). Paddy O’Toole slotted the difficult conversion leaving the Irish 10 – 3.

The next 15 minutes was not a place for the faint hearted as the French committed discretions of the ball which went unnoticed by officials, however the spirit within this young Irish Police side repelled these matters.

The French flair resulted in continued pressure as they scored and converted a well worked try (38 minutes).           -             Half time France 12 Ireland 10.

The second half started at high tempo however to the pleasure of the band of Irish supporters, who were in fine voice throughout the game, it was the Irish that took foothold on the game.

The Irish pack with Rutledge, Malone and Prime in the front row dominated throughout, and the superior Irish lineout continued to apply pressure on the French resulting in a Paddy O’Toole penalty on 55th minute to take the Irish 1 point in the lead. From the restart and the 3rd late tackle on O’Toole the young match official sent the French back row forward to the bin to steady the French discipline.

Ireland pushed for the next score and on 58th minute O’Toole slotted a long range penalty to make the score French Police 12 Ireland Police 16.

The last quarter was outstanding viewing for the neutral fan, Dingley and Corrigan made several penetrating runs with Moore and the outstanding O’Shea at 12 causing problems for the French mid- field. Batt Duggan replaced the injured Simon Malone at hooker (68 mins) and the scrums continued to be an aggressive place to be, Duggan was not found wanting on this front!

The French not to be out done on this occasion launched the final sortie at the Irish which resulted in outstanding defence from the Irish, the final 10 tens had the French encamped on the Irish line and they tried relentlessly to cross without success, the Irish scrum and the back row defence with Captain Broughall to the fore continued to drive the French back, Darragh Hughes was commended after the game from a try saving tackle in the final minutes.

A superb tackle by “Brookie” and an aggressive ruck by the pack gave Gardiner and O’Toole the opportunity to clear Irish lines which the pair duly obliged.

From the final French lineout the ball was stolen by Dever and as the French tried to retrieve the ball they were penalised. O’Toole kicked to touch to bring the curtain down on an outstanding game.

Final result:- French Police 12 - 16 Ireland Police

This result continues to show the major advances Ireland police Rugby has made with wins recorded over British Police and Australian Police.