Title hopes hit as girls fall to English power
Ireland Women's hopes of a second consecutive Six Nations Grand Slam were left in tatters as they succumbed to a 17-10 defeat to England.
Playing at Twickenham after the conclusion of the heartbreaking loss suffered by their male counterparts, Ireland were left to rue their inability to replicate last year's 25-0 win that so shook the rugby world.
There were only seven minutes on the clock when England's pack displayed their raw power and drove a scrum over the line for Sarah Hunter to touch down.
The conversion was added by England captain Katy McLean but Ireland full-back Niamh Briggs reduced the arrears with a penalty after 24 minutes.
Ten minutes before the break, Ireland took the lead when a strong rolling maul drove Phillip Doyle's side to within touching distance of the line and scrum-half Larissa Muldoon darted in for a score. Briggs had no trouble with the extras and Ireland possessed a 10-7 advantage.
They couldn't take the lead into the break as Kay Wilson's score in the corner saw Ireland head to the dressing rooms 12-10 down.
With an hour played, England extended the lead after substitute Marlie Packer went over in the corner.
Ireland's efforts were hampered further when first Lynne Cantwell, and then Heather O'Brien, were sent to the sin bin.
Despite the defeat, Ireland still sit top of the table with two games to play, albeit they are now joined by England on four points.
They will play Italy at the Aviva Stadium in two week's time.