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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

Irish women secure third victory on the trot

Scotland were the girls in the green’s latest victims, as they were beaten 20-0.

Ireland's Niamh Briggs and Lynne Cantwell tackle Laura Steven of Scotland.
Ireland's Niamh Briggs and Lynne Cantwell tackle Laura Steven of Scotland.

IRELAND’S WOMEN BEAT Scotland 20-0 in Ashbourne on Friday night to record a third successive Six Nations victory.

They travel to England next week with an outside chance of winning the championship and it is no more than their effort of the past month deserves.

Spurred on by outstanding contributions by Number 7 Claire Molloy and backs Grace Davitt and Ashleigh Baxter, the Irish scored three tries and denied their opponents any clear chances.

Despite teetering at the scrum and conceding too many penalties, Philip Doyle’s charges were not found wanting when the Scots threatened their 22 and showed admirable discipline and conviction in the tackle.

Ireland hit the front after six minutes when Baxter and Niamh Kavanagh combined out wide to reel the Scottish defence backwards. Sophie Spence took advantage of the confusion to crash over by the posts and Niamh Briggs converted to make it 7-0.

Briggs was wayward with an 11th-minute penalty attempt, and the visitors enjoyed a 10-minute period of dominance. Lynne Cantwell, Molloy and Paul Fitzpatrick stepped up with fierce tackles, as Ireland rode a brief storm.

The reward for the defensive perseverance came on 29 minutes, when Cantwell showed enough composure to re-direct a backline move from left to right. Baxter was the beneficiary, as she dived over in the right corner.

12-0 at half-time became 15-0 within two minutes of the restart when Briggs converted in front of the posts. Both benches were cleared and scrimmaging and missed chances were the narrative for the majority of the half.

A charged down Scottish clearance gave Ireland the platform for a late incision on the left wing. Quick hands from Joy Neville and Briggs put Alison Miller clear and, despite the attentions of a covering defender, she added the third try to make it 20-0.

Ireland play England at Esher Rugby Club in Surrey on St Patrick’s Day and will hope to upset the home side and finish their campaign with a chance of claiming the championship.

IRE – Spence, Baxter, Miller one try each, Briggs one pen, one con

A Baxter; N Kavanagh (J Murphy 67), N Briggs, G Davitt (S Houston 63), A Miller, L Cantwell, A Davis (L Muldoon 57) ; F Coghlan (capt) (R O’Reilly 73), P Fitzpatrick (G Bourke 52) , A Egan, M.L Reilly (S Fleming 73), S Spence, L Guest (H O’Brien 55), C Molloy, J Neville

S Johnston; K Green, L Steven, L Ritchie, S Dixon (L Harris 67), (L Martin 67), T Griffith, L Dalgliesh; T Balmer (A Macdonald 52), S Quick (H Lockhart 52), B Dickens, A Swan (K Muir 71), J Forsyth (C Veale 67), L Wheeler, R Slaven (T Forsberg), S Brown
Referee: S Bros (France)

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