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Leinster look to finish perfect season

Leinster will be raging-hot favourites to complete a perfect season against Connacht in the Women's Interprovincial final at Energia Park this evening (KO 7.0, with admission free for all).

In fact, this is a celebration of the women's game with the U-18s finals also on the four-match menu, alongside the 3rd/4th place play-off in both categories.

A power-packed Leinster are on a 'drive for five' straight wins in the competition. They were ruthless in how they disposed of Ulster by 59-3 in the semi-final last week and are determined to play ball in the best traditions of the eastern province.

Coach Ben Armstrong makes two changes from the semi-final, Elaine Anthony coming into the second-row and Jenny Murphy (above) back at centre.

The advantage of playing on home soil - on their 4G artificial pitch - should attract good support.

Connacht cannot be taken lightly, lock Aifric O'Brien their only change from an impressive semi-final upset of Munster. The manner of that victory, a far closer 20-17 affair, will surely benefit them.

The strategy has to be for Connacht to put the ball into the hands of their wings Alison Miller and Beibhinn Parsons - two of the most natural finishers on the circuit.

For that to happen, the forwards will have to have their way up front where prop Laura Feely and the back-row of Ciara Farrell, Edel McMahon and captain Nichola Fryday are competitive to the core.

From there, the half-backs Mary Healy and Meabh Deely will need to be clever on how they check Leinster's onrushing defence. In short, they will need to get everything spot-on to overcome the odds and that is not likely to happen.

Verdict: Leinster

Leinster - G Miller; E O'Byrne-White, S Naoupu (capt), J Murphy, M Williams; L Muldoon, A Hughes; L Peat, L Dabavonich-O'Mahony, L Djougang, E Anthony, J Bobbett, J Deacon, H O'Connor.

Reps: J Finlay, C Haney, K O'Dwyer, C Dunne, D Earle, M Scufill-McCabe, M Claffey, M O'Brien.

Connacht - A Reilly; B Parsons, C Martin, S Touhey, A Miller; M Deely, M Healy; L Feely, M Griffin, A O'Hora, T Buggie, A O'Brien, C Farrell, E McMahon, N Fryday (capt). Reps: E McNicholas, K Murray, S Rigney, L Brady, S Lane; N Fowley, O Dixon, A Brosnan.

Indo Sport