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Women’s Interprovincial Championship: Round 3 Review/Try Highlights

Women’s Interprovincial Championship: Round 3 Review/Try Highlights

Women’s Interprovincial Championship: Round 3 Review/Try Highlights

Ulster players celebrate Stacey-Lea Kennedy's opening try during their third round encounter with Connacht in Belfast ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Hannah O’Connor, the tournament’s top scorer, converted tries from Megan Williams and Juliet Short as Leinster overcame arch rivals Munster 20-13 in Cork, while Connacht’s first three tries of the campaign guided them past third round hosts Ulster – 20-19.

Women’s Interprovincial Championship Fixtures/Results/Table

Women’s Interprovincial Championship: Round 1 Review/Try Highlights

Women’s Interprovincial Championship: Round 2 Review/Try Highlights

Round 1 Photo Gallery

Round 2 Photo Gallery

Round 3 Photo Gallery

The Ulster Women say they are looking forward to an Interprovincial Championship semi-final against table toppers Leinster in two weeks’ time after a 20-19 defeat at home to Connacht.

Derek Suffern’s young squad finish the round robin phase of the reformatted Interpros without a win, but will have two more games to play at this level with semi-finals and finals on Saturday, September 14 and Saturday, September 21 respectively.

“Having the five games this year is going to improve Women’s rugby across the whole island,” said Ulster captain Neve Jones pitchside after the third round loss. “It gives girls more of a chance to play at a higher level. It’s not just three games and then you’re done for the year. The semi-finals and finals give girls something to work towards.”

It was Connacht’s campaign that sprung into life in a bid to avoid unbeaten Leinster. Ulster started the better team at the Queen’s Sport venue and looked on course for victory after a brace of tries from hooker Stacey-Lea Kennedy put them 12-8 ahead for half-time.

The home pack set out their stall with an early maul try, Kennedy connecting with Katie Hetherington at a close-in lineout before the Ireland-capped front rower barged over from a few metres out. The five-point deficit was cut into by a neatly-struck Meabh Deely penalty at the other end.

Following a disallowed try for a knock-on, Ulster built through the phases and the lineout again provided the platform for a score. Vicky Irwin carried well before Kathryn Dane’s inviting pass sent the inrushing Kennedy on an excellent angled burst to the try-line past three defenders.

Out-half Jemma Jackson converted to open up a nine-point advantage, only for Connacht to respond just before the interval. A loose kick was ruthlessly punished by their impressive back-three, as Aoibheann Reilly raided up the right wing and offloaded for Mairead Coyne to score from 40 metres out, expertly rounding Jackson on the way.

That was the westerners’ first try of the Championship and gave their attack a visible boost of confidence. Next over the whitewash was teenager Reilly who squeezed in past Emma Jordan near the right corner, following some free-flowing build-up play involving Deely, Alison Miller and increasingly-influential full-back Coyne.

It was 17 unanswered points after Ireland prop Laura Feely burrowed over with Edel McMahon on the latch. There were strong carries beforehand from Connacht captain Nichola Fryday and fellow forward Moya Griffin, with the former supplying the scoring pass from a close-in ruck.

Although the win was now out of reach at 20-12, Ulster made sure they bagged a losing bonus point with a well-worked last-minute try. A midfield break by lock Chloe McIlwaine got them within range, and Dane fed number 8 Lauren Maginnes who did well to slip through a gap and gallop over to the right of the posts.

“The girls still enjoyed it today,” admitted Jones. “We’ve got much better phase play this year. We’re a young side so we’re still gelling but we’re working together. There were times we were storming ahead and there were times we needed to fix things, which we can do over the next couple of weeks.”

Meanwhile, Munster’s 20-13 reversal at the hands of Leinster means they will play Connacht in the last-four. Laura Guest’s charges finished second in the table, with a two-try first half and Hannah O’Connor’s assured goal-kicking seeing the visitors triumph at Irish Independent Park.

Six minutes in, wind-backed Leinster took an early seven-point lead in Cork when Megan Williams crossed in the right corner from Jeamie Deacon’s tip-on pass. Second rows Judy Bobbett and Elaine Anthony, the ex-Munster forward, were both prominent as carriers in the preceding phases.

O’Connor swung over a terrific conversion, and although Munster had to absorb further pressure, strong running from Ciara Griffin and Niamh Kavanagh lifted the hosts, as did Stephanie Carroll’s try-saving tackle on Anna Doyle and the follow-up penalty won by co-captain Eimear Considine.

Lindsay Peat maintained her high work-rate, helping to set up an O’Connor penalty from the edge of the 22 which put Leinster into double figures. But, as the Munster carries began to break the gain-line, successive penalties pushed Leinster back, and a well-executed lineout maul sent number 8 Sarah Quin plunging over.

That proved to be Munster’s only score of the first half, as the Blues snapped back. O’Connor missed a penalty, but it was her quick pass out of a tackle, combined with Ailsa Hughes’ initial delivery, which created numbers on the left and an eventual try for flanker Juliet Short who grounded the ball despite Carroll’s best efforts.

With O’Connor adding another peach of a conversion from out wide, Leinster led 17-5 at the turnaround. The Blackrock back rower added a central penalty, three minutes after the restart, and Munster replacement Dorothy Wall was soon yellow carded for killing the ball after an earlier team warning.

However, Laura Sheehan inspired Munster with her third try of the tournament, a superb run-in at the left corner after being released by a link of passes between Quin, Cronin, Claire Keohane and Considine. Keohane’s penalty on the hour mark made it a seven-point game, with Leinster openside Short in the bin for persistent team penalties.

Leinster’s lead came under further pressure with Wall and Chloe Pearse spearheading a promising break. But they managed to soak some dangerous phases in their own 22, with Jenny Murphy marking her long-awaited return with some key contributions. He well-judged kick from a penalty was chased down by Williams to ensure the victors ended the game deep in Munster territory.

The semi-finals of both the Senior & U-18 Interpros will take place at St. Mary’s College RFC’s Templeville Road ground on Saturday week (September 14). MU Barnhall RFC’s Parsonstown home has been confirmed as the venue for the final games on September 21.


MUNSTER WOMEN 13 LEINSTER WOMEN 20, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Munster Women: Tries: Sarah Quin, Laura Sheehan; Pen: Claire Keohane
Leinster Women: Tries: Megan Williams, Juliet Short; Cons: Hannah O’Connor 2; Pen: Hannah O’Connor 2
HT: Munster Women 5 Leinster Women 17

MUNSTER WOMEN: Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians) (co-capt); Stephanie Carroll (Railway Union), Ciara Scanlan (St. Mary’s), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians); Rachel Allen-Connolly (UL Bohemians), Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians); Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians) (co-capt), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Sarah Garrett (UL Bohemians), Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig), Grainne Fennelly (Thurles), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians), Sarah Quin (UL Bohemians).

Replacements: Kate Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Laura Delaney (UL Bohemians), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians), Dorothy Wall (Fethard & District), Clodagh O’Halloran (UL Bohemians), Christine Coffey (Thurles), Claire Keohane (Railway Union), Enya Breen (UL Bohemians).

LEINSTER WOMEN: Anna Doyle (Tullow); Elise O’Byrne-White (Old Belvedere), Grace Miller (Old Belvedere), Michelle Claffey (Blackrock), Megan Williams (Old Belvedere); Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union), Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere), Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union), Judy Bobbett (Blackrock), Elaine Anthony (Old Belvedere), Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock), Juliet Short (Railway Union), Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock).

Replacements: Victoria Dabanovich-O’Mahony (Old Belvedere), Christy Haney (Blackrock), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union), Rachel Horan (CYM), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere), Gemma Matthews (Old Belvedere).

ULSTER WOMEN 19 CONNACHT WOMEN 20, Queen’s Sport, Upper Malone
Scorers: Ulster Women: Tries: Stacey-Lea Kennedy 2, Lauren Maginnes; Cons: Jemma Jackson, Vicky Irwin
Connacht Women: Tries: Mairead Coyne, Aoibheann Reilly, Laura Feely; Con: Meabh Deely; Pen: Meabh Deely
HT: Ulster Women 12 Connacht Women 8

ULSTER WOMEN: Holly Brannigan (Malone); Ella Durkan (Malone), Kelly McCormill (Cooke), Vicky Irwin (Cooke), Emma Jordan (Malone); Jemma Jackson (Old Belvedere), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere); Megan Brodie (Exile), Stacey-Lea Kennedy (City of Derry), Ilse van Staden (Cooke), Chloe McIlwaine (Malone), Keelin Brady (MU Barnhall), Katie Hetherington (Cooke), Neve Jones (Malone) (capt), Lauren Maginnes (Malone).

Replacements: Emma Kearney (Cooke), Shannon Heapes (Cooke), Aishling O’Connell (Cooke), Storm Cobain (Exile), Peita McAlister (Malone), Maeve Liston (Cooke), Lucinda Kinghan (Ireland Sevens), Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere).

CONNACHT WOMEN: Mairead Coyne (Galwegians); Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe), Catherine Martin (Suttonians), Shannon Touhey (Galwegians), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere); Meabh Deely (Ballinasloe), Mary Healy (Galwegians); Laura Feely (Galwegians), Moya Griffin (Tullamore), Anne-Marie O’Hora (Galwegians), Tara Buggie (Galwegians), Denise Redmond (Galwegians), Ciara Farrell (Tullamore), Edel McMahon (Galwegians), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians) (capt).

Replacements: Elizabeth McNicholas (Tuam), Katie Murray (Tullamore), Aifric O’Brien (Suttonians), Alex O’Brien (Tullow), Shannen Lane (Galwegians), Rebecca Gavin (Westport), Orla Dixon (Galwegians), Aisling Brosnan (Co. Carlow).



24 – Hannah O’Connor (Leinster)

17 – Meabh Deely (Connacht)

15 – Laura Sheehan (Munster)

10 – Niamh Kavanagh (Munster), Stacey-Lea Kennedy (Ulster), Chloe Pearse (Munster), Megan Williams (Leinster)

5 – Michelle Claffey (Leinster), Christine Coffey (Munster), Mairead Coyne (Connacht), Laura Feely (Connacht), Ailsa Hughes (Leinster), Claire Keohane (Munster), Maeve Liston (Ulster), Lauren Maginnes (Ulster), Grace Miller (Leinster), Edel Murphy (Munster), Niamh Ní Dhroma (Leinster), Meabh O’Brien (Leinster), Katie O’Dwyer (Leinster), Clodagh O’Halloran (Munster), Laura O’Mahony (Munster), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Leinster), Sarah Quin (Munster), Aoibheann Reilly (Connacht), Kate Sheehan (Munster), Juliet Short (Leinster), Fiona Tuite (Ulster)

4 – Rachel Allen-Connolly (Munster), Niamh Briggs (Munster), Jemma Jackson (Ulster), Larissa Muldoon (Leinster)


3 – Laura Sheehan (Munster)

2 – Niamh Kavanagh (Munster), Stacey Lea-Kennedy (Ulster), Hannah O’Connor (Leinster), Chloe Pearse (Munster), Megan Williams (Leinster)

1 – Michelle Claffey (Leinster), Christine Coffey (Munster), Mairead Coyne (Connacht), Laura Feely (Connacht), Ailsa Hughes (Leinster), Neve Jones (Ulster), Maeve Liston (Ulster), Lauren Maginnes (Ulster), Grace Miller (Leinster) Edel Murphy (Munster), Niamh Ní Dhroma (Leinster), Meabh O’Brien (Leinster), Katie O’Dwyer (Leinster), Clodagh O’Halloran (Munster), Laura O’Mahony (Munster), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Leinster), Sarah Quin (Munster), Aoibheann Reilly (Connacht), Kate Sheehan (Munster), Juliet Short (Leinster), Fiona Tuite (Ulster)


ULSTER U-18 WOMEN 19 CONNACHT U-18 WOMEN 12, Queen’s Sport, Upper Malone
Scorers: Ulster U-18 Women: Tries: Ava Fannin, Toni Macartney, Zara Flack; Cons: Moya Hill 2
Connacht U-18 Women: Tries: Mary McLoughlin, Zara Grehan; Con: Fodhla Ni Bhraonain
HT: Ulster U-18 Women 19 Connacht U-18 Women 5

ULSTER U-18 WOMEN: Farrah McCloskey (Enniskillen); Sophie Kinghan (Dundalk), Zara Flack (Enniskillen), Moya Hill (Enniskillen), Emma Ryan (Virginia); Toni Macartney (Larne), Sarah Shrestha (Dungannon); Ella Garland (Cooke), Aoife Cahill (Malone), Ava Fannin (Virginia) (capt), Kim Johnston (Dungannon), Taryn Schutzler (Malone), Rachel McGee (Ballyshannon), Erin Carson (Malone), Sophie Barrett (Enniskillen).

Replacements: Cara O’Neill (Malone), Hannah Cooney (Malone), Delyth Cook (Ballyclare), Samantha Cassidy Campbell (Ballyclare), Jennifer Collins (Donaghadee), Lauren Kilfedder (Enniskillen), Lucy Thompson (Enniskillen), Jana McQuillan (Larne).

CONNACHT U-18 WOMEN: Hannah Gullane (Ballinasloe) (capt); Avril Deely (Ballinasloe), Fodhla Ni Bhraonain (Corinthians), Maeve Muldoon (Ballinasloe), Alana Roche (Oughterard); Caoimhe Geraghty (Corinthians), Aisling Browne (Westport); Mary McLoughlin (Westport), Molly Ager (Claremorris Colts), Aimee Kelly (Buccaneers), Mollie Starr (Portumna), Faith Oviawe (Buccaneers), Katelyn Bourke (Ballina), Hannah Johnston (Sligo), Leah Hogarty (Ballinasloe).

Replacements: Emily Gavin (Ballinasloe), Zara Grehan (Ballinasloe), Aisling Hahessy (Claremorris Colts), Hannah Coen (Creggs), Rachel Larkin (Ballinasloe), Olivia Haverty (Portumna), Meghan Walsh (Connemara), Katie Hogan (Westport).

MUNSTER U-18 WOMEN 10 LEINSTER U-18 WOMEN 22, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Munster U-18 Women: Try: Eileen Gleeson; Con: Emma Connolly; Pen: Emma Connolly
Leinster U-18 Women: Tries: Katie Whelan 2, Ellie Meade; Cons: Emma Kelly, Ava Jenkins; Pen: Emma Kelly
HT: Munster U-18 Women 3 Leinster U-18 Women 8

MUNSTER U-18 WOMEN: Aoife Corey (Ennis); Roisin Houlihane (Ballina/Killaloe), Saskia Morrissey (Kilrush), Alana McInerney (Ennis), Emer Tuohy (Nenagh); Emma Connolly (Skibbereen), Abbie Salter Townsend (Skibbereen); Eileen Gleeson (Nenagh Ormond), Sarah Murphy (Kanturk) (capt), Erika Kiley (Carrick-on-Suir), Eilish Cahill (Ennis), Aine Enright (Listowel), Aoife Costello (St. Mary’s), Faye Dowling (Fethard & District), Eimear Minihan (Skibbereen).

Replacements: Rebecca Collins (St. Mary’s), Chloe Ann O’Driscoll (Skibbereen), Niamh Thornton (Skibbereen), Marea Walsh (Shannon), Alex O’Sullivan (Skibbereen), Clodagh McMahon (Kilrush), Courtney Duhig (St. Mary’s), Aoibhinn O’Loughlin (Ennis).

LEINSTER U-18 WOMEN: Laura Carty (Edenderry); Rachel Conroy (Tullamore), Vicky Elms Kinlan (Wicklow), Kathryn Dempsey (New Ross), Orla Hayes (Ashbourne); Emma Kelly (Tullamore), Katie Whelan (Enniscorthy); Rachel Murtagh (Naas), Katie Anne O’Neill (Naas), Oreoluwa Olateju (Cill Dara), Ivanna Dempsey (Naas), Nina Hjalmers (Dundalk), Hannah Foxe (Tullamore), Erin King (Naas), Ellie Meade (Dundalk) (capt).

Replacements: Emily Slater (Arklow), Emily Jo White (North Meath), Megan Collis (Greystones), Ellen Murray (Naas), Beth Roberts (Wicklow), Ava Jenkins (Mullingar), Ciara Faulkner (Tullamore), Ella Roberts (Wicklow).