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Tom Tierney steps down after disappointing World Cup campaign. 

Tom Tierney steps down as Irish women’s coach after disappointing World Cup campaign.

Irish head coach Tom Tierney has stepped down in the aftermath of today’s 27-17 loss to Wales.

It follows on from an extremely disappointing World Cup campaign where Ireland suffered defeats to France, Australia and Wales. It also has serious ramifications for the next World Cup as only the top 7 placed sides gain automatic qualification. It means Ireland will have to face into a qualification group for the next edition of the competition.

Already under pressure before today’s game Tierney and the team’s task was not made any easier by stinging criticism from former player Ruth O’Reilly in today’s Irish Times. In the article O’Reilly claims that Tierney had ‘lost the dressing room” and was also critical of the disparity in professionalism between the sevens and XVs programs.

O’Reilly says Tierney lost the players prior to the French game in the six nations when Anthony Eddy redirected three players – Hannah Tyrrell, Ali Miller and Sene Naoupu – from the Six Nations squad to the Sevens circuit in Las Vegas. Ireland beat France 13-10 without the three but O’Reilly says that was the turning point.

Would O’Reilly’s article have better served the team after the Wales game and qualification secured for 2021 or was it the right thing to go to print on the day of such an important game? One thing is for sure, the article raises serious questions about the running of the women’s fifteens program.

If O’Reilly’s claims are true then the IRFU really need to address the issues as soon as possible. Significant ground has already been lost to Ireland’s six nations rivals with England, France and Wales all finishing above Ireland. This group of players deserve better, they deserve the full backing of union and more importantly they deserve the professionalism and respect afforded to the mens programs.

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