Friday 19 July 2019

Considine back with a bang in Reds victory

Munster Women 24 Connacht Women 7

Niamh Briggs converted both tries for Munster and added a penalty shortly before the interval. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Niamh Briggs converted both tries for Munster and added a penalty shortly before the interval. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Munster began the defence of their Women’s Interprovincial Championship title with a comfortable victory over Connacht.

The result means Munster and Leinster – who beat Ulster 17-0 on Friday night – are joint leaders ahead of their second-round trips next Sunday to Portadown and Galway respectively.

“Objective achieved,” said Munster head coach Laura Guest, whose side had lost 19-15 to Connacht in Galway last year. “We have four points leaving here today and Connacht have none. We knew it would be a physical battle. It always is with Connacht. We’ve loads to fix and loads to work on but it’s a great start.”

Munster went ahead on five minutes. Experienced centres Niamh Briggs and Niamh Kavanagh combined to bring the home side into the Connacht 22 and after some patient build-up play with Nicole Cronin sniping around the fringes, co-captain, with Chloe Pearse touching down from a close-in drive.

Munster’s pace out wide combined with their breakdown intensity secured the next try, scored by prop Fiona Hayes from close rangewith the close-range finish this time. Winger Rachel Healy’s jinking run took Connacht into the opposite half for the first time.

Also encouraging for the westerners was out-half Nicole Fowley’s kicking out of hand, which was on the money, but Munster were still hunting for a score as half-time approached. With a penalty in front of the posts on 39 minutes, Hayes nodded to .

Niamh Briggs converted both tries and added a penalty shortly before the interval to leave it 17-0 at half-timeto kick the three points.

That left Munster leading 17-0 at the interval and former Ireland international Guest was certainly satisfied with the on-field decision making. “That was the call,” she explained. “You just need to build points. You can never have enough of a lead with Connacht. You know they’ll come back.”

Guest was proven correct from the restart as Connacht, undoubtedly fired up by coach Jarleth Naughton’s half-time words, . Connacht, though, began the second half with real intent and centre Shannon Touhey pulled back a try.

The visitors continued to press, but Munster pulled out all the stops to keep them out, with Briggs and current Ireland captain Ciara Griffin both forced off in an attritional second half.

And Munster sealed the deal with a try from replacement Eimear Considine, on her return to the red jersey after a year out travelling, following fine work from debutante full-back Enya Breen.

Scorers – Munster: Tries: C Pearse, F Hayes, E Considine; Cons: N Briggs 2, E Breen; Pen: N Briggs. Connacht: Try: S Touhey; Con: N Fowley.

MUNSTER WOMEN – E Breen; L O’Mahony, N Kavanagh, N Briggs, L Sheehan; R Allen-Connolly, N Cronin; F Hayes, K Sheehan, F Reidy, R Ormond, S McCarthy, E Murphy, C Griffin, C Pearse. Reps used: O Curtin, C O’Halloran, S Quin, C Coffey, C Scanlan, E Considine.

CONNACHT WOMEN – J Draper; R Healy, C Martin, S Touhey, O Dixon; N Fowley, M Healy; L Feely, C O’Connor, A-M O’Hora, N Caldbeck, A Roux, E McMahon, G Egan, N Fryday. Reps used: M Griffin, E McNicholas, J Bauer, D Redmond, T Buggie, S Lane, H Griffin, M Coyne.

Ref – G Sheridan (IRFU)

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