Ireland's women came agonizingly close to crowning their first ever international at Thomond Park with an historic Six Nations victory over Wales on Saturday night. The girls in green have never won a Championship game, but deserved to
Backed by a very vocal Limerick crowd, Ireland will feel aggrieved at the Scottish referee who failed to award a penalty try in spite of repeated Welsh infringements on their own line just before the interval. He then missed an outrageous stamp on the head of Highfield prop Edel Coen which should have seen the visitors reduced to 14 players for the entire second half, but Ireland will also rue their own poor ball retention at crucial moments.
Too often, Ireland turned over possession after making ground, either by failing to secure the next put-in or being robbed at the breakdown and that ultimately made it impossible to turn momentum into tries.
The Irish took a deserved early lead with a penalty from Ulster captain Rachel Reid, but Wales quickly levelled through an equalizing strike by flyhalf Awen Thomas. Disaster struck the home side early in the second quarter when they got turned over on the visiting 22 and Wales opened out to exploit an overlap down the right, leading to a try for winger Claire Flowers converted by Thomas.
Then came the sustained siege on the Welsh line, but Ireland's scant reward for prolonged pressure was Reid's second penalty, making it 6-10 at the break.
Thomas extended the visitors lead with another three-pointer early in the second period and, although Reid soon replied, taking her international points tally past 50 in the process, a scoreless last half hour condemned the gallant girls in green to defeat.