Friday 19 January 2018

Reilly leads Irish to victory

Ireland's Women weathered a 20-minute Italian storm either side of half-time to register their first win of this seasons' Six Nations campaign with a convincing 40-10 win.

Having suffered the disappointment of a narrow defeat away to France and mid-match postponement as they led Wales 10-3 in their series opener, Ireland's determination to climb the table was evident from the opening forays.

Philip Doyle's side were on the scoreboard as early as the third minute when Marie Louise Reilly, Ireland's best player on the night, crashed over.

Italy missed the chance to get on the board after a missed penalty by Veronica Sciavon and fell further behind when Joy Neville set up Niamh Kavanagh to score.

Another missed penalty was all Italy could muster before brilliant scrambling from Claire Molloy forced the away team back and a spilt ball fell to Neville to score.

Ailis Egan, who was perhaps lucky not to have been penalised for an earlier offence, did, however, receive

a yellow card for a ruck infringement on 35 minutes.

Italy took advantage and Cristina Molic thundered over to leave it 21-7 at the break.

Italy pressed on in the second-half and no sooner was Egan back on the pitch than Molloy was sin-binned.

Tondinelli scored a drop-goal in front of the posts but Ireland dug in.

The tide was turned thanks to a stealthy break, against the run of play, by winger Alison Miller.

Her 50-metre break was ended by an ankle tap only yards from the line, but scrum-half Amy Davis was on hand to cross the whitewash.

Niamh Briggs added her fourth successive conversion and the Italian challenge faded.

Kavanagh charged down the left wing to score her second try and, after the impressive Ashleigh Baxter was denied late on, Jennifer Murphy added Ireland's fifth to add some gloss to the final scoreline.

IRELAND -- A Baxter; N Kavanagh; N Briggs; G Davitt; A Miller; L Cantwell; A Davis; F Coghlan, capt; G Bourke; A Egan; S Spence; ML Reilly; L Guest; C Molloy; J Neville. Reps: P Fitzpatrick; R O'Reilly; S Fleming; H O'Brien; L Muldoon; N Caughey; J Murphy.

ITALY -- V Schiavon; M Furlan; M Sillari; P Zangirolami; MD Veronese; M Tondinelli; S Barattin; E Chucchiella; S Zanon; L Gai; F Severin; C Molic; M Este; G Campanella; S Gaudino. Reps: D Ballarini; M Bettoni; A Trevisan; M Nespoli; V Chindamo; C Castellarin; S Stefan.

Irish Independent

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