Two converted tries from hooker Gillian Bourke were not enough for Ireland as Wales held on for a narrow victory in Sunday’s RBS Women’s 6 Nations match in Gwent.
Just like their male counterparts, Ireland hit Wales with an early try at Cross Keys RFC. Continuing where she left off against Scotland, centre Lynne Cantwell punched a hole in the midfield and set up a good attacking position.
A well-worked move from a five-metre lineout sent hooker Gillian Bourke over after just three minutes' play.
Bourke threw to lock Marie Louise Reilly who tapped down to Joy Neville whose quick pass put Bourke in at the corner past Jenny Davies' tackle.
Full-back Niamh Briggs added an excellent conversion from the touchline for an early 7-0 advantage.
But the Welsh were determined to bounce back from their recent defeat to Italy and mounted a quick response.
Ireland's defence was badly cut open when centre Elen Evans took a pass from out-half Elinor Snowsill and sprinted in behind the posts for her fourth try of the campaign.
Full-back Aimee Young tapped over the conversion and kicked a penalty, five minutes later, to give the hosts a 10-7 lead.
Briggs was off target with a penalty and Wales struck for a timely try just before the break. Number 8 Jamie Kift chipped through and as Briggs and Mairead Kelly failed to clear their lines, centre Adi Taviner swooped to score in the corner.
Young's missed conversion left the scoreline at 15-7 for half-time, and Philip Doyle's side had quite a challenge on their hands.
Ireland dominated the second half but could not turn their pressure into points until Bourke scrambled over for her second try, following good work by the forwards.
Briggs added the extras to set up a nail-biting finish but Ireland could not force another score and suffered an agonising one-point defeat.
The girls in green will have to regroup quickly as they host an all-conquering England team at Ashbourne RFC next Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
Results between the sides have been getting closer with each passing year and Doyle's charges will be primed for a big finish to the Championship campaign.
Referee: Federica Guerzoni (Italy)