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Women’s Interpros: Round 3 Review

Women’s Interpros: Round 3 Review

Munster regained the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship crown by the very narrowest of margins after defeating two-in-a-row title hunters Leinster 11-5 at Thomond Park this afternoon, writes Michael Gallagher. In Laura Guest’s first season in charge, their second win of the campaign saw them pip Leinster on scoring difference.


Scorers: Munster: Try: Gillian Bourke; Pens: Ellen Murphy 2
Leinster: Try: Ailsa Hughes

HT: Munster Women 6 Leinster Women 0

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With Munster and Leinster finishing with two victories and 10 Championship points apiece, it was the Reds who were crowned champions thanks to their +29 scoring differential, compared to Leinster’s +27. It was also pleasing to see Connacht’s resurgence under new head coach Jarleth Naughton, with the westerners’ 29-7 bonus point victory over Ulster seeing them finish on a nine-point tally in third.

Former Ireland flanker Siobhan Fleming was delighted to lift the trophy at the Limerick home of Munster Rugby, telling her team-mates afterwards: “I’m so proud, you have no idea, so, so proud. Thank you so much for all you have given.”

Adam Griggs’ Leinster side came into the game in pole position, armed with a three-point lead at the summit. The top of the table clash was tight and tense throughout with both provinces well aware of the various permutations which would secure them the prized Interpro silverware.

With Ciara Griffin, Niamh Kavanagh and goal-kicking scrum half Ellen Murphy leading the charge, Munster built a 6-0 interval lead with Murphy splitting the posts after eight and 11 minutes. Leinster were foiled by a couple of knock-ons, but a late break involving Nicole Carroll and Sene Naoupu, two newcomers to the squad this season, raised their hopes ahead of the second half.

Munster were rewarded for some patient build-up play in the Leinster 22 when former Ireland hooker Gillian Bourke powered over on the end of a 50th minute maul. The conversion was missed and the visitors hit back with a five-pointer on the hour mark, as scrum half Ailsa Hughes broke from the back of a maul to touch down.

Leinster retained the majority of possession in the closing stages with number 8 and captain Paula Fitzpatrick carrying effectively into the Munster 22. Naoupu made use of the momentum created by the Leinster forwards before prop Lindsay Peat was unfortunate to knock on, and Munster’s resolute defence ensured that they wrapped up the result at the end of a compelling Interpro series.

MUNSTER WOMEN: Laura O’Mahony (UL Bohemians); Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Aine Staunton (UL Bohemians), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), Syphonia Pua (UL Bohemians); Rachel Allen (UL Bohemians), Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere); Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Siobhan McCarthy (Railway Union), Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee) (capt), Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians).

Replacements: Leah Lyons (Highfield), Maura Collins (Tralee), Zoe Grattage (Highfield), Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians), Christine Arthurs (Highfield), Valerie Power (Shannon), Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians).

LEINSTER WOMEN: Nicole Carroll (Suttonians); Aimee Clarke (Railway Union), Aine Donnelly (Old Belvedere), Michelle Claffey (Blackrock), Susan Vaughan (Railway Union); Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union), Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union), Paula Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s) (capt).

Replacements: Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere), Caoimhe Molloy (Gorey), Christy Haney (St. Mary’s), Rachel Horan (CYM), Meg Kendal (Railway Union), Megan Parkinson (Wicklow), Meaghan Kenny (Railway Union), Maria Kenny (Old Belvedere).

Scorers: Ulster: Try: Brittany Hogan; Con: Beth Cregan
Connacht: Tries: Alison Miller 2, Jane O’Neill, Orla Dixon, Ciara O’Connor; Cons: Hilary Griffin 2

HT: Ulster Women 0 Connacht Women 19

Captained by flanker Grainne Egan, Connacht finished their campaign in style with an impressive and deserved 29-7 bonus point win over a youthful Ulster side in Belfast. The westerners began the series with a stellar success against eventual champions Munster and followed that up with a loss in Dublin before bringing the curtain down today with this five-try blitz.

Ulster fought hard throughout but were overpowered by the visitors who led 19-0 at the break following tries from star international winger Alison Miller, Jane O’Neill and Orla Dixon. Tullow out-half Hilary Griffin landed two conversions.

The hosts hit back with a well-taken try from promising centre Brittany Hogan, but Connacht were not going to be derailed. The ever-threatening Miller completed her brace and Ireland-capped hooker Ciara O’Connor, who was arguably the province’s best performer over the three rounds, showed deft footwork to make it five tries for Naughton’s charges.

ULSTER WOMEN: Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union) (capt); Leah McGoldrick (Cooke), Brittany Hogan (Cooke), Peita McAlister (Malone), Amy Graham (Cooke); Nikki Caughey (Railway Union), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere); Ilse van Staden (Cooke), Neve Jones (Malone), Aishling O’Connell (Co. Cavan), Hannah Beattie (Cooke), Amanda Maginn (Ballynahinch), Beth Cregan (Cooke), Lesley Megarity (Cooke), Lauren Maginnes (Cooke).

Replacements: Gemma McCutcheon (Cooke), Sorcha Mac Laimhin (Cooke), Helen McGhee (Cooke), Rebecca Smyth (Cooke), Storm Cobain (Ballynahinch), Emma Jordan (Cooke), Claire Johnston (Cooke), Eliza Downey (Cooke).

CONNACHT WOMEN: Mairead Coyne (Galwegians); Orla Dixon (NUI Galway), Shannon Touhey (Tullamore), Jane O’Neill (Old Belvedere), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere); Hilary Griffin (Tullamore), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Laura Feely (Galwegians), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Castlebar), Amelie Roux (Galwegians), Nicola Caldbeck (Tullow), Edel McMahon (Galwegians), Grainne Egan (Railway Union) (capt), Nichola Fryday (Tullamore).

Replacements: Ellie Dillane (NUI Galway), Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union), Denise Redmond (Galwegians), Karen Douglas (NUI Galway), Sabina Egan (Galwegians/Buccaneers), Shannen Lane (NUI Galway), Niamh Ni Dhroma (Old Belvedere), Clodagh Dunne (Old Belvedere).

Women’s Interpros: Round 1 Review

Women’s Interpros: Round 2 Review

2017/18 IRFU Women’s Interpro Results/Final Table



20 – Aimee Clarke (Leinster)

10 – Alison Miller (Connacht), Ciara O’Connor (Connacht), Michelle Claffey (Leinster), Ailsa Hughes (Leinster), Edel Murphy (Munster)

9 – Hilary Griffin (Connacht)

8 – Ellen Murphy (Munster)

7 – Mairead Coyne (Connacht)

6 – Aine Donnelly (Leinster)

5 – Edel McMahon (Connacht), Amelie Roux (Connacht), Jane O’Neill (Connacht), Orla Dixon (Connacht), Lindsay Peat (Leinster), Susan Vaughan (Leinster), Laura O’Mahony (Munster), Fiona Hayes (Munster), Rachel Allen (Munster), Chloe Pearse (Munster), Niamh Kavanagh (Munster), Laura Sheehan (Munster), Christine Arthurs (Munster), Gillian Bourke (Munster), Eliza Downey (Ulster), Teah Maguire (Ulster), Amy Graham (Ulster), Brittany Hogan (Ulster)


4 – Aimee Clarke (Leinster)

2 – Alison Miller (Connacht), Ciara O’Connor (Connacht), Michelle Claffey (Leinster), Ailsa Hughes (Leinster)

1 – Edel McMahon (Connacht), Amelie Roux (Connacht), Mairead Coyne (Connacht), Jane O’Neill (Connacht), Orla Dixon (Connacht), Lindsay Peat (Leinster), Susan Vaughan (Leinster), Laura O’Mahony (Munster), Fiona Hayes (Munster), Rachel Allen (Munster), Chloe Pearse (Munster), Niamh Kavanagh (Munster), Laura Sheehan (Munster), Edel Murphy (Munster), Christine Arthurs (Munster), Gillian Bourke (Munster), Eliza Downey (Ulster), Teah Maguire (Ulster), Amy Graham (Ulster), Brittany Hogan (Ulster)