Ireland women's suffer narrow loss to England in Twickenham
England 13-9 Ireland
Like their male counterparts, Tom Tierney's Ireland Women failed to take any consolation from Twickenham as Emma Croker and Abbey Scott tries gave England their third win of the competition.
Victory over Wales in the first round hinted that a third Six Nations title in four years might be a possibility for the Irish Women, but consecutive defeats to France and now England mean they cannot now retain their crown.
A try midway through the first-half from English hooker Croker gave England an 8-0 lead that their early dominance deserved, and it was always going to be tough for Ireland from there.
It only took the home side four minutes to take the lead when Amber Reed punished a high tackle with a well struck penalty for a 3-0 lead. With Niamh Briggs and Larissa Muldoon getting on plenty of ball for Ireland they did enjoy some territorial dominance, but they failed to convert as England turned ball over on a few occasions and Ireland were guilty of running possession into touch.
But Ireland bossed the closing stages of the first-half and when the English defence were penalised for failing to roll away from the tackle five minutes from the break Briggs got them on the board with a cool penalty.
And after being dominated for the most of the first-half Ireland would have been delighted to only trail by 8-6 when Briggs kicked her second penalty a minute from half-time when Emily Braund failed to roll away.
And shortly after the restart Ireland actually took the lead when Briggs landed her third penalty of the game, but crucially they failed to make the most of their best 20 minutes of the game.
With Harriet Millar-Mills in the sin bin Ireland laid siege on the England line and Paula Fitzpatrick came close to a try on a couple of occasions. Briggs was also denied a try when her quick tap penalty was called back by the referee who deemed she had taken it from the wrong place, and as the Irish girls got desperate for a score, Briggs was off target with a snap drop goal.
And 18 minutes from time while they were still down to 14 women, England rolled through a number of phases before Abbey Scott dived over in the absence of fringe defence to clinch a deserved win for the home side.
Scorers – England: E Croker, A Scott tries; A Reed pen. Ireland: N Briggs 3 pens.
England Women - K Mason; L Thompson (R Laybourn 72), L Cattell, C Large, L Clapp; A Reed, L T Mason (B Blackburn 40); R Clark ( H Kerr 78), E Croker (A Cokayne 61), V Cornborough (B Dawson 75); A Scott, E Braund; H Millar-Mills (T Taylor 68), I Noel-Smith (P Leitch 74), S Hunter (capt).
Ireland Women - N Briggs (J Shiels 74); E O'Byrne-White, A Donnelly, S Naoupu, M Coyne; N Stapleton (N Caughey 56), L Muldoon; R O'Reilly, C Moloney, A Egan; S Spence, M-L Reilly; C Griffin (H O'Brien 65), C Molloy, P Fitzpatrick (C Cooney 80).
Ref: A Nievas (Spain).
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