Ireland Women recorded their second win in this seasons Six Nations, overcoming Wales and Storm Ciara to claim a 31 – 12 bonus point victory.
I thought this one would be closer, but it was a disappointing Welsh performance with Ireland seeing off early resistance to control the game quite comfortably.
IRELAND (17) 31
TRY: Beibhinn Parsons, Cliodhna Moloney, Lauren Delany, Linda Djougang, Penalty Try
CON: Claire Keohane (2).
WALES (5) 12
TRY: Lauren Smyth, Siwan Lillicrap
CON: Robyn Wilkins
Wales enjoyed the better of a scrappy opening quarter as both side’s looked to get a feel of the conditions. The visitors had a few chances but poor passing and decision making, allied with a resolute Irish defence, kept the home sides line intact.
Ireland came to terms with the conditions quicker and, on the 17th minute, a clearance kick caused confusion in the Welsh defence with Beibhinn Parsons reaping the benefits to step the remaining defence for the opening score.
Wales looked for a response but, with their scrum somewhat muted due to technical infringements, Ireland were able to work their way into the match and a line out steal allowed Sene Naoupu to send Cliodhna Moloney through for Ireland’s second. Claire Keohane added the conversion to give Ireland a 12 – 0 lead after 26 minutes.
Further confusion in the Welsh defence allowed Lauren Delaney to skip through for a third on the 33rd minute to push Ireland’s lead to 17 points.
The visitors errors were compounded by a yellow card to Gwenllian Pyrs minutes later but the visitors roused themselves for one final push of the half. A quick penalty caught Ireland on the back foot and Lauren Smyth spotted a huge gap in the Irish defence to trot over from meters out. The conversion was missed leaving the score 17 – 5 in Ireland’s favour as the teams changed ends.
Any Welsh hopes of a second half revival received a huge setback as Linda Djougang crashed over two minutes into the second half, for Keohane to convert, giving Ireland the try bonus point and a 24 – 5 lead.
However, Siwan Lillicrap crossed minutes later for a try, converted by Robyn Wilkins, on the 47th minute to give the visitors a glimmer of a chance. As it was, it was Storm Ciara that upped their game for the bulk of the second half leaving the teams in a midfield battle to hold on to the ball.
Unsurprisingly, play tapered off a tad, Ireland raising themselves for one last charge to be awarded a penalty try in the closing minutes.
Final score: Ireland 31 Wales 12
IRELAND: Eimear Considine, Lauren Delany, Sene Naoupu, Michelle Claffey, Beibhinn Parsons, Claire Keohane, Kathryn Dane, Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Linda Djougang, Aoife McDermott, Judy Bobbett, Ciara Griffin (C), Edel McMahon, Anna Caplice. Replacements used: Ciara Cooney, Dorothy Wall, Aoife Doyle, Nicole Cronin, Larissa Muldoon, Laura Feely, Anne-Marie O’Hora.
WALES WOMEN: Lauren Smyth, Jasmine Joyce, Hannah Jones, Kerin Lake, Lisa Neumann, Robyn Wilkins, Keira Bevan, Gwenllian Pyrs, Kelsey Jones, Cerys Hale, Natalia John, Gwen Crabb, Alisha Butchers, Manon Johnes, Siwan Lillicrap (C). Replacements used: Cara Hope, Bethan Lewis, Alex Callender, Georgia Evans, Paige Randall, Ffion Lewis, Hope for Pyrs, Molly Kelly, Ruth Lewis.