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Third Successive Home Win For Ireland Women

Third Successive Home Win For Ireland Women

The Ireland Women took their try-scoring tally to 19 in four Six Nations games as they accounted for Scotland at Ashbourne RFC on Friday night.

Alison Miller touched down in the closing stages, adding to first half tries from Sophie Spence and Ashleigh Baxter. All three players also scored tries in last Saturday's record win over Wales.

The wind-backed Scots were 12-0 behind at the break, with Niamh Briggs converting Spence's close range score.

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Winger Miller raced over in the left corner for her try, following Marie Louise Reilly's block of an attempted Scottish clearance.

Ireland's third victory in four Championship outings, which was streamed live by Irish Rugby TV, sets up a shot at their first ever Triple Crown next week when they meet England in London on St. Patrick's Day.

Paula Fitzpatrick, making her first Championship start, was right on the money with her first lineout throw against the Scots and Ireland were quickly up to speed in attack.

A strong run from Niamh Kavanagh created space and with Scotland brought in close to their posts, lock Spence cut through from a few metres out for the opening try.

Briggs tagged on the conversion, and then combined well with her centre partner Grace Davitt as Ireland remained on the front foot.

The elusive Miller was denied by a forward pass as she sprinted up the right wing with the Scots, winless in this campaign, struggling to get out of their own half.

Ireland almost added a second try with a powerful weaving run from Briggs, who was hauled down just short of the line. Louise Dalgliesh came in at the side of a ruck, but Briggs snatched at the resulting penalty and missed it.

Scotland hit back strongly and turned down a kickable penalty before Briggs produced a vital tackle on the advancing Stephanie Johnston, in front of the Irish posts.

A strong scrum from the hosts earned a relieving penalty and out-half Lynne Cantwell then had to react smartly to close down Katy Green as she threatened out wide on the right.

But Ireland were much more clinical when attacking opportunities presented themselves at the other end. Slick passing across the back-line, following a brilliant break from Cantwell, set up full-back Baxter for her second try in as many games.

Briggs’ conversion attempt from a tough position on the right fell short and with neither side impressing before the interval, Ireland took a 12-point lead into the second period.

Tricky centre Davitt was brought down just short of the Scottish line as Ireland threatened immediately on the resumption. The attack was created by a strong charge on the right from prop Ailis Egan.

Briggs landed a subsequent penalty for a 15-0 scoreline and lively winger Kavanagh, already with three tries to her name in recent weeks, was left frustrated by two near misses.

She was called back for a foot in touch on the right after a brilliant counter attack was sparked by the fleet-footed Miller inside her own half.

Kavanagh was soon denied again in the same corner, this time by a forward pass. By that stage, experienced replacement Shannon Houston had made a welcome return to the Irish midfield.

With Scotland lacking the firepower to get off the mark, this superior Ireland outfit fittingly had the final say with Miller’s 73rd-minute try.

Towering lock Reilly got her block in and Irish captain Fiona Coghlan reacted quickly to spot numbers on the left and start a string of passes which led to the winger dotting down.

Referee: Sylvie Bros (France)