In wet and windy conditions, Munster and Leinster Women’s senior teams contested the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial championship title on Saturday at the Civil Service Sports Club in Belfast. It was the third time in as many years that these two sides have met in the finals and once again it was a close and hard-fought encounter.
2008/09 IRFU WOMEN’S INTERPRO FINAL: Saturday, October 25
MUNSTER 10 LEINSTER 5, Civil Service Sports Club, Belfast
Scorers: Munster: Tries: Paula O’Connor, Niamh Briggs
Leinster: Try: Yvonne Nolan
It was 25 minutes into the game before the opening score came, following a great break by Munster. Unfortunately the wet conditions caused a knock on leading to a Leinster scrum.
But Munster’s ‘never give up’ attitude was clearly evident when number Paula O’Connor broke from the scrum, blocked down Leinster’s number 10 Julie Craig and was quick on her feet to pounce on the loose ball and touch down, putting Munster in the driving seat.
Munster’s in-form kicker throughout the season, Niamh Briggs, pulled the conversion kick slightly to the left of the posts in windy conditions.
Leinster came back at the Munster girls hard and strong as was to be expected with scrum half Tania Rosser sniping at every opportunity and Grace Davitt trying to breach the Munster back-line.
However, Munster’s defence was resolute with Marie Barrett, Lynne Cantwell and Patrique Kelly putting in some major hits.
The two second rows, Deirdre Scannell and Kate O’Loughlin, drove Leinster back at the breakdown with a huge work rate around the pitch,
Minutes before half-time, Munster out-half Helen Brosnan made a break up the pitch and was tackled just short of the Leinster 22.
Quick ball from scrum half Lousie Beamish and excellent hands by Lynne Cantwell set full-back Briggs away outside the Leinster defence and in for Munster’s second try of the day.
Again, with the adverse weather conditions, the conversion was pulled wide and Munster went in at the break leading 10-0.
With the wind behind them in the second half, Leinster came back strongly and looked to penetrate the Munster defence but every wave of attack was met by a resilient red wall.
Munster continued to dominate the second half with their back row covering huge ground and winger Sarah Jane Cody looking dangerous in attack.
In the dying minutes though, there was some small consolation for Leinster.
A Leinster lineout deep in the Munster 22 saw Yvonne Nolan drive over for their only try of the game.
Munster captain Eimear O’Sullivan was presented with the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Cup after the game by IRFU President John Lyons.
This was Munster’s third consecutive year to lift this prestigious cup and even more impressively, they have gone undefeated in those three years.
This is a testament to the hard work and commitment put in by the Munster management and players. Congratulations to all involved in the set-up.