'Proud' Peat revelling in yet another moment
Ireland 14 Italy 3
Lindsay Peat's envious list of sporting achievements continues to grow, and yesterday afternoon she added to it further by scoring her first international try in Ireland's win over Italy.
Having represented Ireland in basketball and soccer as well as winning an All-Ireland football title with Dublin, Peat only took up rugby last year and made her debut in November.
Tom Tierney's side made it difficult for themselves but they put recent defeats to France and England behind them to beat Italy, and with it complete a clean sweep of Irish victories over the weekend.
Peat's first-half try ensured that Ireland led 7-3 at the break, but it was their basic errors that kept Italy in the game. Tierney opted to hand debuts to Kim Flood, Liz Burke and Claire McLaughlin from the bench as Ireland took their total of new caps since November to 14.
This is certainly a transitional period for Ireland and that showed in what was a disjointed display, but as Tierney admitted afterwards, it's a case of learning and building towards next year's World Cup.
Michaela Sillari kicked the visitors into an early lead as Ireland were forced into making plenty of tackles inside their 22. It wasn't until five minutes before the break that Peat burrowed her way over after an excellent block by Ciara Cooney.
"It's another moment to add to the collection that when I retire, I can look back fondly on it as a very proud moment. I was delighted to get the start and even nicer to cap it with a try," Peat smiled.
"The captain's run was probably the first time the hamster in the wheel wasn't going too fast. Thankfully I've been learning on the job for the last few weeks.
"The senior players have been fantastic with me.
They've been nice and patient because I'm sure there were times when it was very tedious. Especially not coming from a rugby background and I feel like I'm at a place now where I know where we're going and hopefully we can kick on."
In Sene Naopu, Ireland have a player whose array of skills allows her to do things that other players on the pitch simply cannot and she was again impressive.
Ireland were always in control of proceedings in the second half but it wasn't until Paula Fitzpatrick's 65th-minute try that they made sure of the victory.
Niamh Briggs converted Peat's try but with the skipper replaced in the second half, Nora Stapleton took over the kicking duties and fired over a fine conversion.
For all of Ireland's errors, there was plenty for Tierney to take from the game as the attention now turns to the final game against Scotland next week.
"With so many new combinations and new players coming in, we knew that it was going to be a disjointed game at times and thankfully we weathered those storms and got our game plan going at critical times," Tierney said.
"We pride ourselves on our core skills and a lot of those turnovers today were not necessarily a core skill breakdown, it was more about trying too hard and forcing it a small bit which again is totally acceptable in situations like this.
"The intent of the girls was very impressive but obviously the execution wasn't. It's a step-by-step process and we've got to go through games like this to learn."
Ireland - K Flood; L Burke, N Briggs (capt) (C McLaughlin 60), S Naoupu, A Miller (F Reidy 70); N Caughey (N Stapleton 54), M Healy (L Muldoon 54); L Peat (R O'Reilly 55), C Moloney (Z Grattage 65), A Egan (A Miller 77); E Anthony, M L Reilly; C Cooney (C Molloy 65), C Griffin, S Spence (P Fitzpatrick 60).
Italy - M Furlan; M Magatti, M Grazia Cioffi (V Madia 70), M Sillari, S Stefan; B Rigoni, S Barattin; E Cucchiella (G Giacomoli 75) (D Nicoletti 79), L Cammarano, M Bettoni (L Gai 34); E Pillotti (V Ruzza 62), A Trevisan; M Este (I Arrighetti 70), I Locatelli, E Giordano.
REF - A Perrett (ARU).