10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Ireland have knocked and knocked, but now finally the door has been opened, and in Madrid at the weekend the championship underdogs claimed a priceless first ever 6 Nations win.
Full-back Belton contributed 11 of her sides points with three penalties. She also converted a penalty try awarded as the Spanish repeatedly infringed and eventually were reduced to 14 players for ten minutes.
Ireland's dramatic improvements up front, since their mauling in Scotland last weekend, was the dominant factor on the historic victory as their Catalan counterparts could not legally compete.
Irish captain Suzanne Fleming paid tribute to her pack as she spoke after the game. Our forward play was excellent. Our scrummaging was exceptionally strong and we out mauled the Spanish all day."
Coach Donal O'Leary agreed with his skipper's sentiments."We may have overdid the rucking in the first half not presenting enough good back-line ball but generally our dominant mauling allowed us the platform we needed and our back-row of Joy Neville, Rachel Boyd and Fiona Steed were outstanding."
Ireland can also celebrate the news that their next opponents, France were beaten by Scotland, boding well for their chances (which at the start of the season seemed unlikely) for an upset in Thomond Park in two weeks time.
The final words from Fleming typify the magnitude of the victory (asides from the fact that Spain hammered the Irish 42-0 two seasons ago).
"We are elated and relieved to finally have rid this monkey off our back. It's a brilliant feeling and emotional for all of us who have worked so hard."
Ireland. SJ Belton (UL-Bohs); N Milne (Worcester), P Kelly (Ul-Bohs),S Fleming (Cooke), L Cantwell (UL-Bohs), J O Sullivan (Nottingham), L beamish (UL-Bohs), E Coen (Highfield), J Lonergan (Shannon), M Dolo (Old belvedere), R Foley (Shannon), A M McAllister (Shannon), R Boyd (Cooke) , F Steed (Shannon), J Neville (Shannon).
Replacements. J Leacy (Blackrock) for A McAllister 60 min. , F Coghlan (Ul-Bohs) for J Lonergan 65 min. R Reid (Cooke) for R Boyd 65 min. G McAllister (cooke) for E Coen 68 min. L Coulter (Cooke) for L Beamish 75 min. N Ni Chaidhain (Galwegians) for N Milne 75 min. A Greensmith (Shannon) for L Cantwell 75 min.