Ireland notched up six tries in a 39-7 victory over Spain on Sunday as they finalised their preparations for their opening game of the Women’s RBS 6 Nations against Wales.
Despite the snowy conditions at Ashbourne RFC, the Irish Women were firing from the kick-off with the first score of the match coming from winger Niamh Kavanagh after only three minutes of play.
Niamh Briggs who was restored to full-back having played last year’s Six Nations matches in the centre, comfortably slotted the conversion.
However, it was obvious from start that the Spanish team meant business and did not travel to Ireland to leave without a tough battle. It was not long before winger Laura Esbri scored under the posts having shown some great footwork to beat the Irish defence.
A Briggs penalty in the 25th minute saw Ireland being to increase the pressure on Spain. Philip Doyle's side continued to apply pressure to the Spanish outfit throughout the first half and went into the dressing room at half-time leading by 15-7, following a try from winger Alison Miller.
Ireland continued to dominate in the second half and with tries from Ashling Hutchings, Sophie Spence, Stacey-Lea Kennedy and a second from Miller, the girls in green ran out comfortable winners.
With both squads using rolling substitutions, it was a great opportunity for the coaching staff to see all 26 players perform at this level and it has no doubt left Doyle and the Irish management with some tough selection decisions ahead of their first Six Nations match against Wales.
The Rosie Gallagher Memorial Trophy was presented to Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan following the uncapped friendly.
Rosie, an all-action flanker, played her rugby with Cooke RFC whilst also representing Ulster during her career. Rosie won four caps for her country between February 1999 and May 2000 and sadly passed away after a short illness in August 2003.
This trophy was played for between Ireland and Spain in the Six Nations in 2004, 2005 and 2006, before Spain were replaced by Italy in line with the men's tournament.