Munster women regain Interprovincial Championship
Victory over Leinster sees them pip their great rivals on scoring differential
Munster’s Siobhán Fleming receives the women’s interprovincial trophy at Thomond Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
In Laura Guest’s first season in charge, their second win of the campaign saw them pip Leinster on scoring difference.
With Munster and Leinster finishing with two victories and 10 Championship points apiece, it was the Reds who were crowned champions thanks to their +29 scoring differential, compared to Leinster’s +27.
Former Ireland flanker Siobhán Fleming was delighted to lift the trophy at the Limerick home of Munster rugby, telling her team-mates afterwards: “I’m so proud, you have no idea, so, so proud. Thank you so much for all you have given.”
Adam Griggs’ Leinster side came into the game in pole position, armed with a three-point lead at the summit. The top of the table clash was tight and tense throughout with both provinces well aware of the various permutations which would secure them the prized Interpro silverware.
Munster were rewarded for some patient build-up play in the Leinster 22 when former Ireland hooker Gillian Bourke powered over on the end of a 50th minute maul. The conversion was missed and the visitors hit back with a five-pointer on the hour mark, as scrumhalf Ailsa Hughes broke from the back of a maul to touch down.
Munster’s resolute defence ensured that they wrapped up the result at the end of a compelling Interpro series.
Captained by flanker Gráinne Egan, Connacht finished their campaign in style with an impressive and deserved bonus point win over a youthful Ulster side in Belfast.
Ulster fought hard throughout but were overpowered by the visitors who led 19-0 at the break following tries from star international winger Alison Miller, Jane O’Neill and Orla Dixon. Tullow outhalf Hilary Griffin landed two conversions.
The hosts hit back with a well-taken try from promising centre Brittany Hogan, but Connacht were not going to be derailed. The ever-threatening Miller completed her brace and Ireland-capped hooker Ciara O’Connor, who was arguably the province’s best performer over the three rounds, showed deft footwork to make it five tries for Naughton’s charges.