Munster and Leinster set up winner-takes-all Interpro finale

Irish captain Niamh Briggs was on target for Munster

Roisin Ormond is tackled by Kathryn Dane and Niamh Fitzgerald Munster's Roisin Ormond is tackled by Kathryn Dane and Niamh Fitzgerald of Ulster Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

REIGNING INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONS Munster and 2014’s winners Leinster continued their winning ways in the Women’s Interprovincial series to set up a winner takes all clash for the title next weekend.

Before a ball was even kicked in Donnybrook, there was a feeling the fixture between Leinster and Connacht was something of a celebration of women’s rugby as the tea time kick off attracted a crowd of over 1,000 spectators despite torrential rain, thunder and lightning before kick off. Amongst these was VIP guest Ryan Tubridy.

Leinster 15 – 5 Connacht, Donnybrook Stadium

The women from the West had the brighter start as their openside Grainne Egan opened the evening’s scoring with a try on the 11th minute. Out half Clare Raftery missed the conversion.

However, Leinster’s composure began to show and as Jennie Finlay touched down to become the second try-scoring openside of the match. The two sides level at 5 points a piece going into the interval.

Leinster displayed their statement of intent in the opening minutes of the second half and World Women’s player of the year nominee Sophie Spence further cemented her super star reputation as she crashed over the line to score on the 46th minute.

Despite some defensive heroics from Connacht, the hosts secured their third try through a 54th minute score from centre Aine Donnelly.

For the remainder of the match, both sides’ attempts to add to the scoreboard were scuppered by the greasy conditions. Leinster replacement wing Sara Phelan showed great grit in her defensive work. The final score line was Leinster 15 – Connacht 5.

Niamh Briggs Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Munster 43 – 0 Ulster, Thomond Park Stadium

Earlier in the afternoon Munster were ruthless in their encounter against Ulster. Captain Niamh Briggs led the scoring with a try on the 9th minute, followed by further first half tries from wing Laura O’Mahony and tight head prop Leah Lyons.

A succession of four second-half tries from Niamh Kavanagh, Lyons – who sealed a brace –  Heather O’Brien and Chloe Pearse showed the hosts’ desire to hold onto interprovincial bragging rights to finish the match 43-0.

This fixture was the beginning of a particularly action packed day for Munster’s Edel Murphy, who as well as making her provincial debut from the bench, then raced off to Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds to play in goal for Kerry in their All Ireland Ladies Gaelic football defeat to Cork.

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