Ireland's World Cup campaign has disappointed, but there will be some local interest in the World Cup final on Saturday evening in Belfast.
Joy Neville will take charge for England's match against New Zealand, just over four years after retiring from the game. Capped 7o times by Ireland, the Limerick native only picked up the whistle for the first time in the following months.
Part of two World Cup squads with Ireland, the former Grand Slam winner will be on the field with women she would have regularly faced as an international player.
In shock.An absolute honour.Especially when we tried so hard2get2a final for 2 World Cups as a player.Thank you4all the support #Honoured pic.twitter.com/dqUVEwh8Rk
— Joy Neville (@JoyNevilleRef) August 24, 2017
Speaking on Friday to Irish Rugby TV, the former Ireland captain could not get over the shock of refereeing such a prestigious match.
I think I need to pinch myself every now and then. It's a massive honour...
If you asked me three or four years ago whether this would have even been an option, I'd have said 'absolutely not'. I'm just flabbergasted.
Neville's refereeing career has seen he work throughout all levels of the game in both men's and women's matches. Last season, she was regularly part of the officiating teams in the Pro12 and Challenge Cup.
The last year has been an amazing experience. I've achieved an awful lot and I've gotten a massive amount of opportunities. Thankfully I've taken the opportunities.
So far in the tournament, Neville has refereed two matches, and has acted as an assistant referee in others. Saturday's game between England and New Zealand will be her second time in charge of the English this month.
Despite Ireland's disappointing tournament, at least there will be some local involvement on the field in the final. Joy Neville's progress is something to behold