Ireland Women kept a Triple Crown and Championship firmly in their sights with a comprehensive 0 – 20 win against their Welsh counterparts in Swansea on Sunday afternoon. Paula Fitzpatrick and Alison Miller both crossed for Ireland, either side of half time, but it was the huge defensive performance from Ireland’s Captain Niamh Briggs and the destructive rucking of wing forward Claire Molloy that made all the difference.
Both teams went into the game with their championship prospects greatly enhanced following the Italians victory over France on Saturday evening. On top of this Wales were looking to complete the Triple Crown and Ireland were looking to keep their chances of the same alive.
The game wasn’t of the greatest standard with both teams looking nervy from the off. Wales, with the wind behind them, made the running early on but Ireland’s defence held firm and Molloy worked her magic at the breakdown appearing to steal the ball at will. Ireland’s dominance at the ruck led to a series of penalties in the Welsh half and Ireland eventually made the pressure count with Paula Fitzpatrick touching down against the posts off the back of a ruck. Briggs converted and Ireland led 0 – 7 as the game approached the half hour mark.
Wales pushed for an equalising score as the half drew to a close but great defensive work from Ireland, with Briggs an Molloy outstanding, kept the visitors line intact.
With the wind behind them Ireland pretty much dominated the second half with Briggs adding two penalties to take the score to 0 – 13 an Wales were running out of ideas, though they did get some joy out of their scrum after the hugely impressive Ruth O’Reilly went off for a well deserved rest!
However it was Ireland who ended the game on top with a typical Alison Millar break, converted by Briggs, that put the icing on the cake.
Ireland travel to Glasgow on Sunday with their Championship and Triple Crown hopes very much alive.
Ireland: Niamh Briggs, Hannah Tyrrell, Jenny Murphy, Jackie Shiels, Alison Miller, Nora Stapleton, Larissa Muldoon, Ruth O’Reilly, Gillian Bourke, Ailis Egan, Sophie Spence, Marie Louise Reilly, Paula Fitzpatrick, Claire Molloy, Heather O’Brien. Replacements: Sarah Mimnagh, Fiona Hayes, Fiona O’Brien, Orla Fitzsimons, Katie Norris, Tania Rosser, Sena Naoupu, Aoife Doyle.