Ireland Women went one better than their male counterparts last weekend picking up the Six Nations Championship and the Triple Crown with a comprehensive 3 – 73 win against Scotland Women at Broadwood Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Women made light of the 27 point margin of victory required, after Frances win against England, running in eleven tries in total in a match as one sided as the score line indicates.
It was women against girls as Ireland romped to a 3 – 37 lead at half time with tries from Niamh Briggs, Claire Molloy, Heather O’Brien, Gill Bourke and Alison Miller. Miller helped herself to a hat-trick, with two more tries, in the second half with Paula Fitzpatrick, Sophie Spence, Tania Rosser and Jenny Murphy also crossing. Briggs converted 6 of the tries and added two penalties to finish the game with 23 points.
While Briggs has truly been “Captain Fantastic” throughout the tournament she has been ably supported by Ailis Egan, Spence and Gill Bourke up front as well as Miller and Murphy in the back line. However our player of the tournament goes to Claire Molloy who has been a cut above her opponents throughout, ruling the breakdown with consummate ease.
As well as destroying England and Wales at the breakdown it was Molloy who practically single handedly kept Ireland in the game in their narrow loss to France which ultimately decided the championship.
However, after an excellent Women’s World Cup, I am somewhat disappointed that the standard of the game has slipped backwards in this championship. World Champions, England, have been truly disappointing and I expected more from Italy and Wales, who despite encouraging results ultimately lacked the squad depth to be truly competitive. If the Women’s game is to continue to build on the recent huge strides it has taken in recent years, games like this 70 point thrashing need to become a thing of the past.
I hope Ireland Women experience a bit more competition as they defend their Six Nations title next season!
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, Sene Naoupu, Aoife Doyle