Saturday, September 21
IRFU WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL:
LEINSTER WOMEN 25 CONNACHT WOMEN 12, Energia Park
Scorers: Leinster Women: Tries: Lindsay Peat, Elise O’Byrne White, Grace Miller, Hannah O’Connor, Judy Bobbett.
Connacht Women: Edel McMahon, Beibhinn Parsons; Con: Nicole Fowley.
HT: Leinster Women 15 Connacht Women 0
Leinster retained the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship with a 25-12 win over Connacht at Energia Park. It’s the first time the province have won back-to-back titles, but they were made to work hard for the perpetual trophy after a strong second-half comeback from Connacht.
“That’s what I’m most proud of” said winning captain Sene Naoupu, “the girls’ ability to turn it around and change the momentum in the second half. It’s the last time we’ll play as this exact group. For some of the girls, it’s probably the last interpro so that makes it even more special. There’s a huge amount of talent coming through and that’s really exciting as well.”
🏆 Leinster = Champions! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/Kb09QXjLeH
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 21, 2019
It was a typically clinical start from the champions, who made full use of their time in the opposition 22 with two tries in the first 11 minutes. Lindsay Peat was first to strike from close range after an initial line-break from Naoupu.
It was Peat who carved up the Connacht defence three minutes later to create an overlap for Elise O’Byrne White and Leinster were 15-0 after 20 minutes up when they found even more space on the left wing for Grace Miller.
Connacht fought their way back into the game in the second quarter as player coach Alison Miller got to grips with her younger sister Grace, but they still struggled against Leinster’s aggressive rush on their midfield.
That changed in the second half as the introduction of Nicole Fowley at out-half saw Connacht kick into the space behind Leinster amid worsening conditions. It put Leinster’s back three under huge pressure and Aoibheann Reilly’s quick feet in midfield gave Connacht’s pack the platform to drive over with Edel McMahon going under the sticks. It was a special moment for McMahon after it was confirmed this week she was making the switch cross-channel to play with Wasps in the Tyrrells Premier 15s.
Connacht’s new plan also unlocked the pace of Beibhinn Parsons and the young winger accelerated onto Fowleys pass to finish off a big rumble from the Westerners’ pack on 55 minutes. For the first time in this Championship, Leinster were a try away from losing their lead in the second half.
Ben Armstrong’s women had the time and the resources to respond. They reshuffled their backline to restore confidence under the high ball and Sene Naoupu had her pick of support runners on a searing break on 63 minutes. Megan Williams was first on scene and combined with her captain to send Hannah O’Connor over.
Connacht were pinned back and Judy Bobbett got her reward for a night of heavy-duty carrying when she powered over to seal the win with seven minutes remaining.
“We just didn’t want them to out work us,” said Leinster’s Head Coach. “When they punched, we counter-punched. It feels pretty good. We lifted the trophy after a draw last year and we wanted to leave no doubt about who the best team was this year and I feel we did that.”
LEINSTER WOMEN: Grace Miller (Old Belvedere); Elise O’Byrne-White (Old Belvedere), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere), Megan Williams (Old Belvedere); Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union), Victoria Dabanovich-O’Mahony (Old Belvedere), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere), Elaine Anthony (Old Belvedere), Judy Bobbett (Blackrock), Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock), Juliet Short (Railway Union), Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock).
Replacements: Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere), Christy Haney (Blackrock), Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union), Clodagh Dunne (Old Belvedere), Daisy Earle (Railway Union), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union), Michelle Claffey (Blackrock), Meabh O’Brien (Suttonians).
CONNACHT WOMEN: Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe); Beibhinn Parsons (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), Aifric O’Brien (Suttonians), Ciara Farrell (Tullamore), Edel McMahon (Galwegians), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians) (capt).
Replacements: Elizabeth McNicholas (Shannon), Katie Murray (Tullamore), Sinead Rigney (Tullamore), Lily Brady (Westport), Ursula Sammon (Castlebar/Galwegians), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians), Orla Dixon (Galwegians), Aisling Brosnan (Co. Carlow).
IRFU WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP THIRD-PLACE PLAYOFF:
MUNSTER WOMEN 39 ULSTER WOMEN 12, Energia Park
Scorers: Munster Women: Tries: Eimear Considine, Steph Carroll, Roisin Ormond 2, Nicole Cronin, Fiona Reidy, Fiona Hayes; Cons: Enya Breen 2.
Ulster Women: Tries: Diane Ramsay, Maeve Liston; Con: Jemma Jackson.
HT: Munster Women 34 Ulster Women 0
Munster vented their frustration at not making the Women’s Interprovincial decider with a 39-12 win over Ulster in the third-place playoff. It took Eimear Considine just 59 seconds to cross and Laura Guest’s side were 17-0 up in the first seven minutes with further efforts from Steph Carroll and Roisin Ormond and a conversion from Enya Breen. Ormond added a second and Nicole Cronin and Fiona Reidy also notched tries as Munster amassed an impressive 34-0 scoreline at half time.
Ulster too had something to prove after a heavy defeat in last week’s semi-final and got on the scoreboard through Diane Ramsay, Maeve Liston and Jemma Jackson.
ULSTER WOMEN: Ella Durkan (Malone); Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere), Maeve Liston (Cooke), Vicky Irwin (Cooke), Diane Ramsay (Queen’s University); Jemma Jackson (Old Belvedere), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere); Emma Kearney (Cooke), Stacey-Lea Kennedy (City of Derry), Ilse van Staden (Cooke), Chloe McIlwaine (Malone), Keelin Brady (MU Barnhall), Beth Cregan (Cooke) (capt), Katie Hetherington (Cooke), Lauren Maginnes (Malone).
Replacements: Megan Brodie (Exile), Aishling O’Connell (Cooke), Shannon Heapes (Cooke), Shannon Buller (Queen’s University), Delores Hughes (Cooke), Kelly McCormill (Cooke), Lucinda Kinghan (Ireland Sevens), Holly Brannigan (Malone).
MUNSTER WOMEN: Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians) (co-capt); Stephanie Carroll (Railway Union), Enya Breen (UL Bohemians), Ciara Scanlan (St. Mary’s), Laura O’Mahony (UL Bohemians); Rachel Allen-Connolly (UL Bohemians), Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians); Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians) (co-capt), Kate Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Ciara O’Halloran (UL Bohemians), Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians), Sarah Quin (UL Bohemians).
Replacements: Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians), Laura Delaney (UL Bohemians), Claire Bennett (UL Bohemians), Clodagh O’Halloran (UL Bohemians), Grainne Fennelly (Thurles), Christine Coffey (Thurles), Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Roisin Willis (UL Bohemians).
Women’s Interprovincial Championship Perpetual Trophy History:
1999-2000: Ulster; 2000-2001: Ulster; 2001-2002: Munster; 2002-2003: Munster; 2003-2004: Munster; 2004-2005: Munster; 2005-2006: Leinster; 2006-2007: Munster; 2007-2008: Munster; 2008-2009: Munster; 2009-2010: Munster; 2010-2011: Munster; 2011-2012: Leinster; 2012-2013: Munster; 2013-2014: Leinster; 2014-2015: Munster; 2015-2016: Munster; 2016-2017: Leinster; 2017-2018: Munster; 2018-2019: Leinster; 2019-2020: Leinster.
Women’s Interprovincial Championship Perpetual Trophy Wins: Munster (13), Leinster (6), Ulster (2)