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Nail-biting finish sees Leinster claim inter-pro title after draw with Munster

Both sides finished the campaign with two wins and a draw but, with the roles reversed from last year, Leinster secured the silverware.

Leinster's Sene Naoupu celebrates after the game with her teammates.
Leinster's Sene Naoupu celebrates after the game with her teammates.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Leinster women 14

Munster women 14

THE IRFU WOMEN’S inter-provincial championship had another nail-biting finish tonight as Leinster regained the title thanks to a dramatic 14-all draw with defending champions Munster at Donnybrook. 

Both sides finished the campaign with two wins and a draw but, with the roles reversed from last year, Leinster secured the silverware thanks to their superior scoring difference (+64 compared to Munster’s +37).

Tenacious Munster almost pulled it out of the fire, however the conversion of Rachel Allen-Connolly’s levelling 80th-minute try was agonisingly missed by Niamh Briggs.

Leinster out-half Nikki Caughey led Briggs 9-6 in their kicking duel at half-time, with the former Ireland captain opting to go for the corner when Munster got on top early in the second half.

Laura Guest’s charges were struggling to breach the home defence and Briggs’ third successful penalty in the 63rd minute levelled matters.

That left enough time for the late drama with Linda Djougang hauled down within inches of the line before Leinster reset and touched down out wide through flanker Juliet Short with her fourth try of the championship.

Munster’s siege was successful in the dying minutes with out-half Allen-Connolly capitalising on an overlap to notch the only try Leinster have conceded in the tournament.

Ciara Griffin and Niamh Briggs Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The joy and agony was obvious as Briggs’ right-sided conversion, with the destination of the title riding on it, narrowly missed the target, leaving Leinster to collect the trophy in coach Ben Armstrong and captain Sene Naoupu’s first season at the helm.

Meanwhile, Connacht secured third place with a 31-17 bonus-point win at home to Ulster, the tries being shared out by Catherine Martin, Mairead Coyne, Amelie Roux, Ciara O’Connor and Anne-Marie O’Hora.

Elsewhere, Ballinasloe starlet Beibhinn Parsons’ hat-trick of tries saw Connacht edge out Leinster 21-19 to win the IRFU U18 women’s inter-pro crown for the first time. A

The final-round victory completed a unique double for Connacht, who now hold inter-pro titles in both the men’s and women’s U18 grades.

“It means so much,” said Connacht head coach Fraser Gow. “Leinster are a very good side. We’ve had a lot of tough days over the last couple of years. That result and the series win is for everybody who has contributed.”

The Ulster U18s defeated outgoing champions Munster with a 31-5 bonus-point success in the opening game at MU Barnhall RFC.

Charlie Farrell’s side led 19-0 at half-time and finished with a five-try haul — Lucy Turkington, Aoife Cahill, Lisa Mullen (2) and replacement India Daley all touched down.

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About the author:

Ross O'Donoghue

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