“Credit to France, they ran around us in the first half,” said Ireland captain Claire Molloy after the final whistle.
“We left them in too easily and then we just had too much of a mountain to climb. Their defence held until the very last minute but credit to our girls for getting the try. The support out there was amazing. They really were the sixteenth player and drove us on as we were camped out on the French 22.
“It’s disappointing but we have to rebuild from that. Credit to the girls, again our bench was very strong and I’m just delighted we got the try at the end.”
When asked where Ireland came up short in a very tough pool, the Irish captain who played every minute of their pool games was unequivocal in her response.
“I think our first halfs left us down,” admitted Molloy.
“I think we finished well but we have to get better first half performances against teams with the quality that the French have. We wish them the best of luck in the semi-final.
“Our supporters have been absolutely amazing and it has been a huge honour to play in front of them. It has created a really special experience for every girl who pulled on the Irish jersey. Credit to them as they have been immense,” said Irish international Alison Miller.
Commented Irish manager Tom Tierney. “Conceding 21 points in a very tough defence-laden first half was obviously the deciding factor in the end.”
“France played very well and showed why they are going to be one of the favourites. The girls did very well to keep it to 21 points. We gave it our best shot in the second half but unfortunately it wasn’t to be tonight. They are hugely disappointed and there is a lot of heartbreak but that’s rugby and we’ll
“We have a job to do when we go to Belfast in a competition that we weren’t hoping to be involved in.
“We have to take the disappointment and get on with it.”