That turned into a red card and now Rickard will face a disciplinary committee which could ban her from playing against the Scots at Boroughmuir on Saturday.
The home side led all the way and it took a mere six minutes for the Welsh team to open their account when a break by Claire Flowers was carried on by Naomi Thomas - who ran 50 metres to score at the posts. Thomas added the conversion and Wales were in command.
It took a further 40 minutes before the next score came in injury time at the end of the first half. Irish wing Lynne Cantwell was yellow carded for a technical offence and Thomas added a penalty to the home tally to send them into the break 10 points clear.
Wales had commanded most of the territory and possession in the first half but the second half saw a contrast in fortunes. With their skipper Sarah-Jane Belton leading the way from fullback the Irish grew in stature as the game wore on and hit back strongly.
Belton, who was named in the Rugby World Cup All-Star side last summer, kicked superbly and was always a threat with the ball in hand. She played a part in creating the overlap that allowed left wing Grave Davitt to take advantage of Rickard's absence to score a try after 73 minutes.
With the game back in the melting pot when Rickard was given a red card shortly after her return it meant an agonising last five minutes for the Welsh fans.
"We could, and possibly should, have won by a bigger margin, but we made some silly mistakes," said Wales Coach Fielies Coetsee. "This team has a strong resolve and has developed a strong passion for winning. That's what helped them through in the last 20 minutes when they were down to 14 women.
"This win makes it eight in a row and it is good to have beaten a team that is ranked eighth in the world. Now we need to build on this and go to Scotland and try to improve on this performance. We finished second in the Six Nations last season and we are looking to match or improve on that campaign. To do that we must take our chances."
Wales 10 Ireland 5
Wales: Try: N Thomas. Con: N Thomas. Pen: N Thomas
Ireland: Try: G Davitt
Wales: Elen Evans (Dolgellau); Rhian Williams (Wasps), Rachel Poolman (UWIC), Clare Flowers (Clifton), Louise Rickard (Saracens); Naomi Thomas (Clifton), Mellissa Berry (Worcester, captain); Louise Horgan (Saracens), Rhian Bowden (UWIC), Jenny Davies (Waterloo), Liza Burgess (Clifton), Claire Donovan (Saracens), Catrina Nicholas (Cardiff Quins), Jamie Kift (Clifton), Kylie Wilson (Clifton)
Replacements: Amy Broadstock (Llandaff North) for Davies 32; Davies for Horgan 65; Stacey Saunders (Tylorstown) for Burgess 49
Ireland: Sarah-Jane Belton (Bohs); Jeannette Feighery (Bohs), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond), Shannon Houston (Blackrock), Grave Davitt (Blackrock); Joanne O'Sullivan (Richmond), Tania Rosser (Blackrock); Fiona Coghlan (Bohs), Jess Limbert (Cooke), Marie Barrett (Highfield), Caroline Mahon (Bohs), Germaine Healy (Rathdrum), Eimear O'Sullivan (Clonakilty), Rachel Boyd (Cooke), Orla Brennan (Blackrock)
Replacements: Laura Guest (Clonakilty) for Barrett 70; Sinead Ryan (Navan) for Boyd 70; Mairead Kelly (Bohs) for Feighery 41