4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
Stuart Olding and Jared Payne - switching their regular positions to play at full-back and centre respectively - also caught the eye with exhilarating offensive displays, the latter joining Luke Marshall and Andrew Trimble on the scoresheet.
Cardiff, for their part, were outplayed for vast periods of this round 6 encounter, but made the most of the two pockets of dominance they enjoyed, staying in contention thanks to a try in each half and the accuracy of Leigh Halfpenny's boot.
Ulster enjoyed the upper hand for most of the first period and to all intents and purposes, could have had the match sewn up before referee Giuseppe Vivarini's half-time whistle had it not been for a late resurgence from the visitors.
Cardiff started poorly, Rhys Patchell's over zealous kick-off travelling straight into touch. Ulster made good ground from the resulting scrum on halfway, with Olding proving particularly fleet of foot as he outstripped several opponents in midfield.
Paddy Jackson knocked over the first points of the game on eight minutes as Cardiff infringed at the scrum, cancelled out just minutes later by Halfpenny from the Ulster 22.
Ulster's regular full-back Payne proved equally at home in the centre and was instrumental in the first try after 15 minutes, leaving four defenders for dead before setting up a chain of passes from Marshall to Robbie Diack and finally Tuohy, who comfortably grounded in the left corner.
Jackson's missed conversion attempt was a minor blow for Ulster - overshadowed by the exits of Johann Muller and Rory Best to injury in quick succession - but with Lewis Stevenson and Rob Herring slotting into the pack, Ulster continued to boss the scrum.
Indeed, the second try came about as a direct result of the province's set piece superiority.
Twice a floundering Cardiff infringed at the scrum on their own 22, and a quickly taken penalty from Ruan Pienaar after the second caught the Blues off guard, creating the space for Payne to score in the 23rd minute - courtesy of a long pass from Tommy Bowe.
Jackson missed the conversion but added a penalty five minutes later, before Cardiff's best spell of possession ended with their Irish number 8 Robin Copeland touching down as the Ulster defence seemed to momentarily go to sleep metres from their own try-line.
Halfpenny followed Jackson's trend with an errant conversion kick and then a well-struck penalty moments later to send the teams off with a mere five-point gap at half-time (16-11).
Normal service resumed as soon as the second half got underway, with Ulster surging down both wings before Olding made the difference in the middle with a neat sidestep to find Marshall metres from the line.
The young centre used all his bulk to withstand a trio of tackles and stretch over the whitewash at the second attempt, the validity of the try soon confirmed by television match official Peter Ferguson.
Jackson failed to add the extras once more, but kicked his next penalty to touch as Ulster probed for the bonus point score.
After winning the lineout, however, Ulster were illegally impeded in the ruck by try scorer Copeland, who saw yellow for his indiscretion, and the out-half tagged on a simple three points for a 24-11 advantage.
Again Cardiff responded admirably, winger Richard Smith sliding over on the very edge of the left touchline despite the attentions of Jackson and Trimble - the try this time was converted with a low drive from Halfpenny.
Disappointed with the soft concession, Ulster regrouped immediately, with Pienaar steadying the ship on 54 minutes courtesy of a trademark long range penalty.
Halfpenny kept the Blues in touch with a penalty of his own just before the hour mark, and with Pienaar and Jackson missing a kick apiece moments later, the match still hung in the balance well into the final quarter.
Confirmation of Ulster's victory - and bonus point - only came in the 67th minute when an overlap on the right wing allowed Trimble to get in by the corner flag, the ever-impressive Olding contributing his second direct assist of the night.
Another conversion was missed but it mattered little as a succession of late Ulster raids kept the Blues hemmed back in their own half.
When the fifth try arrived in the 80th minute through Tuohy once more, it owed much to the quick hands of both Payne and Roger Wilson, who kept the protracted move going at two vital stages as Cardiff battled to disrupt the Ulster flow.
Pienaar closed out the game with what was, remarkably, Ulster's first successful conversion of the night.
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|
|Cardiff Blues Score Card|