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Six-Try Success For Ireland Women

Six-Try Success For Ireland Women

Ireland secured their first win of the 2012 Women’s RBS 6 Nations thanks to a six-try success over Italy at Ashbourne on Friday night.

It was a well-deserved victory for the hosts, who came agonisingly close against France last time out. They had also led 10-3 against Wales before frost at the County Meath venue called a premature halt to proceedings in the opening round.

The large home attendance were treated to a superb Irish display against a committed but well-beaten Italian side.

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The girls in green led from the fifth minute onwards, with towering lock Marie Louise Reilly breaking through for the first try of the night.

Offaly native Niamh Kavanagh claimed the second try for her side in the 14th minute. After being put through by Joy Neville, Kavanagh went over unopposed out wide on the right.

Neville turned from provider to poacher in the 29th minute when grabbing the third try after a strong tackle from her back row colleague Claire Molloy forced a turnover.

With all of these tries converted by the unerring Niamh Briggs, Ireland moved confidently into a 21-0 lead after 30 minutes.

But Italy bounced back with a Cristina Molic try to ensure a 21-7 scoreline at the break. Yellow cards for Ireland's Ailis Egan and Molloy, either side of half-time, handed the initiative to Italy.

A Michela Tondinelli drop goal cut the deficit 15 minutes after the restart. The Italians, who lost to England and France in their opening games, enjoyed a spell of dominance in the Irish half.

However, Philip Doyle's well-drilled home side showed huge character to keep Italy at bay and add three further tries to their tally.

The excellent Reilly, Laura Guest and Ashleigh Baxter all stood out as the girls in green turned defence into attack.

Hard-working scrum half Amy Davis crossed the line in the 62nd minute after some excellent approach play from the strong-running Ailson Miller.

Miller burst forward on a brilliant 50-metre break but was brought down short of the line by Italian hooker Sara Zanon. However, Davis picked up at the ensuing ruck to crash over and put Ireland 26-10 ahead.

Kavanagh followed up with her second try in the 72nd minute, showing terrific power and pace to burst away from two defenders and scoot over in the left corner.

With time almost up, second half replacement Jennifer Murphy, one of the newcomers to the squad, added the final try in injury-time with a darting run in under the posts against a tiring Italian defence.

Referee: Joyce Henry (Canada)