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Munster And Leinster Women Set Up Interpro Title Decider

Munster And Leinster Women Set Up Interpro Title Decider

Reigning IRFU Women’s Interprovincial champions Munster and 2014 winners Leinster continued their winning ways in this season’s tournament to set up a winner-takes-all clash for the title next weekend, writes Kate Rowan.


ROUND 2 – Saturday, August 29

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Scorers: Munster: Tries: Niamh Briggs, Laura O’Mahony, Leah Lyons 2, Niamh Kavanagh, Heather O’Brien, Chloe Pearse; Cons: Niamh Briggs 4
Ulster: –


Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Jennie Finlay, Sophie Spence, Aine Donnelly
Connacht: Try: Mairead Coyne

Women’s Interpros Results/Fixtures/Table

Round 1 Review – Munster And Leinster Women Win On The Road

Before a ball was even kicked at Donnybrook on Saturday, there was a feeling the fixture between Leinster and Connacht was something of a celebration of Women’s rugby as the evening kick-off attracted a crowd of over 1,000 spectators despite torrential rain, thunder and lightning beforehand. Amongst these was special VIP guest Ryan Tubridy and Leinster’s mascot ‘Leona the Lion’ kept the fans entertained.

The women from the west had the brighter start with their forwards, including their captain, Ireland prop Ruth O’Reilly, her front row colleague Laura Feely and the back row of Edel McMahon, Grainne Egan and Carol Staunton, showing great physicality.

Connacht had the hosts under pressure inside their half and it was full-back Mairead Coyne who opened the scoring with a try in the 11th minute. Out-half Clare Raftery missed the conversion.

However, Leinster’s class and experience began to show and international Paula Fitzpatrick, playing at number 8, made a stunning break, passing to Jennie Finlay who became the second try-scoring openside of the match. Nora Stapleton’s conversion drifted just wide, which left the two sides locked level at 5-all going into the interval.

Leinster opened the second half in very good stead, World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year nominee Sophie Spence further cementing her superstar reputation as she crashed over the line to score in the 46th minute.

Robert Forbes’ side continued to apply the pressure and despite some defensive heroics from Connacht inside centre Sene Naoupu, the hosts secured their third try through a 54th minute score from centre Aine Donnelly.

For the remainder of the match, both teams’ attempts to add to the scoreboard were scuppered by the greasy conditions. Leinster replacement winger Sara Phelan showed great grit in her defensive work to keep Connacht scoreless in the closing stanza and copperfasten the Blues’ 10-point victory.

LEINSTER WOMEN: Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock); Janice Daly Morrissey (Old Belvedere), Elise O’Byrne White (Old Belvedere), Aine Donnelly (Port Dara), Amy Cotter (Suttonians); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union); Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere), Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere) (capt), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere), Jennie Finlay (Railway Union), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s).

Replacements: Ann-Marie Rooney (St. Mary’s), Karla Dunne (Blackrock), Ruth McElroy (Old Belvedere), Mairead Holohan (Blackrock), Susan Fogarty (Railway Union), Meg Parkinson (Carlow), Vikki McGinn (Blackrock), Sara Phelan (Clondalkin).

CONNACHT WOMEN: Mairead Coyne (Galwegians); Aine Staunton (UL Bohemians), Niamh Ni Dhroma (Buccaneers), Sene Naoupu (Galwegians), Jill Draper (Tullamore); Clare Raftery (Galwegians), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians) (capt), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Laura Feely (Galwegians), Siobhan Barrett (St. Mary’s), Catriona Cassidy (Carlow), Edel McMahon (NUIG/Galwegians), Grainne Egan (St. Mary’s), Carol Staunton (Galwegians).

Replacements: Ciara Farrell (Tullamore), Amanda Kelly (Tuam), Eimear Murphy (Carlow/Ballina), Rita Breen (NUIG), Christine Arthurs (Tralee), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians), Emma Clery (Galwegians), Emer O’Mahony (Railway Union).

Meanwhile, earlier in the afternoon, Munster were ruthless in their second round encounter with a youthful Ulster outfit. Captain Niamh Briggs kickstarted the scoring with a try in the ninth minute but missed the conversion. A superb break from Laura O’Mahony ended in the winger dotting down in the 27th minute. Briggs again missed the conversion.

Just five minutes later, Munster’s tighthead prop Leah Lyons scored off the back of a rolling maul. It was a case of third time lucky for Briggs as she nailed this conversion.

A series of of second half tries – four in all – showed the hosts’ desire to hold onto the Interprovincial bragging rights. These scores came from outside centre Niamh Kavanagh, Lyons, who completed her brace, international back rower Heather O’Brien and replacement Chloe Pearse to round off a runaway 43-0 bonus point success.

This fixture was the beginning of a particularly action-packed day for Munster’s Edel Murphy who, as well as making her provincial debut from the bench, raced off afterwards to Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds to play in goal for Kerry in their All-Ireland Ladies Gaelic football defeat to Cork.

Unbeaten Munster and Leinster will meet in another fascinating Interpro decider at Thomond Park next Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm), with Ulster entertaining Connacht at Portadown RFC’s Chambers Park (kick-off 3pm) in the other final round tie.

MUNSTER WOMEN: Valerie Power (Shannon); Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Highfield), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), Nicola Scully (Highfield), Laura O’Mahony (Tralee); Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians) (capt), Ellen Murphy (Highfield); Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Amy Desmond (Highfield), Leah Lyons (Highfield), Róisín Ormond (Highfield), Elaine Anthony (Highfield), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee), Ciara Griffin (Tralee), Heather O’Brien (Highfield).

Replacements: Zoe Grattagh (Highfield), Maura Collins (Abbeyfeale), Niamh English (Highfield), Gerda Coyne (Highfield), Chloe Pearse (Shannon), Mona Fehily (Highfield), Jayne Pennefather (Highfield), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians).

ULSTER WOMEN: Teah Maguire (Cooke); Peita McAlister (Queen’s University), Grace Davitt (Cooke), Claire McLaughlin (Queen’s University), Eliza Downey (Cooke); Jemma Jackson (Queen’s University), Kathryn Dane (Enniskillen); Ilse van Staden (Cooke), Lesley Megarity (Cooke) (capt), Shannon Heapes (City of Derry), Colette Broome (Queen’s University), Naomi McCullagh (Omagh), Noreen Nethercott (Enniskillen), Niamh Fitzgerald (Old Belvedere), Lauren Maginnes (Queen’s University).

Replacements: Kelly Gormley (City of Derry), Sabrina Higgins (Carrickfergus), Nikita Armstrong (Cooke), Sorcha Chipperfield (Cooke), Shirelle Wilson (Cooke), Imogen Porter (Queen’s University), Erin Caughey (Queen’s University), Stacey Sloan (City of Derry).