Ireland 0-32 England
Having come within a score of World Cup semi finalists France in their last outing, and with the historic win in Croke Park yesterday, hopes were high that the Ireland Womenâ00s team could take inspiration and cause an upset when they lined out against last yearâ00s Grand Slam winners England in Thomond Park today. However, Ireland were unable to prevent a rampant England from coming out on top with a five try victory.
Ireland started brightly, with captain Sarah Jane Belton putting the ball in behind the England defence with superb accuracy to play for territory. However, Englandâ00s physical dominance all over the field and strength in the line out kept Ireland on the defensive. Englandâ00s first try came from winger Susan Day, who was on the end of a counter attack after a kick ahead by Irelandâ00s Grace Davitt. Daly beat two Irish defenders to score their first try which went unconverted. Shortly after, England missed a kick at goal after Ireland conceded a penalty for being offside, however, out half Katy McLean was on target after 24 minutes after a similar offence by Ireland to stretch Englandâ00s lead to 8-0.
Despite a heroic defence on their own line, Ireland couldnâ00t keep out Georgia Stevens who crossed the line after nine phases of play on the 36 minute mark. McLeanâ00s conversion made it 15-0 at the break.
After the restart, some fantastic defensive work from Irelandâ00s Jo Oâ00Sullivan prevented a sure try, however Englandâ00s scoring prowess continued with scrum half Amy Turner getting Englandâ00s third touch down after 43 minutes following a sniping pick and go from the base of an England scrum. McLean converted to by England 22-0 ahead. Turner was instrumental in setting up Englandâ00s fourth thirteen minutes later, with some great work at the breakdown saw her turn over an Irish ruck, and lightening hands to openside flanker Maggie Alphonsi, the England No. 7, who crossed the line. Englandâ00s final try came 25 minutes into the second half when Danielle Waterman crossed the line after a well worked move by the England back line, however, the conversion was missed.
The biggest cheer of the day came when Grace Davitt outflanked the English backline after great efforts at the Irish line out saw the ball spread wide to the pacy winger. Unfortunately the English cover caught Davitt, and Irelandâ00s hopes of a score to finish off a gutsy performance were not to be.
Best for Ireland included the Irish back row, with Orla Brennan impressing, who defended well and spoiled a number of Englandâ00s attacks. While the front five competed in the scrum, they struggled with the sheer physicality of the England side. However, the midfield of 10, 12 and 13 kept England on their toes with quick ball from the rucks giving them and attacking platform. With the England attack focused from out wide, Irelandâ00s back three, with captain Sarahjane Belton at full back, had plenty to contend with, and couldnâ00t stem the English tide. However, Belton led from the front displaying a tenacious work rate throughout.
15. Sarahjane Belton Captain (UL Bohemian), 14. Jeannette Feighery (UL Bohemian), 13. Lynne Cantwell (Richmond), 12. Shannon Houston (Blackrock), 11. Grace Davitt (Blackrock), 10. Jo Oâ00Sullivan (Richmond), 9. Louise Beamish (UL Bohemian), 1. Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemian), 2. Jess Limbert (Cooke), 3. Marie Barrett (Highfield), 4. Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemian), 5. Germaine Healy (Rathdrum), 6. Eimear Oâ00Sullivan (Clonakilty), 7 Sinead Ryan (Navan), 8. Orla Brennan (Blackrock)
Laura Guest (Clonakilty) for Marie Barrett
15. Charlotte Barras, 14. Sue Day, 13. Claire Allan, 12. Rachel Burford, 11. Danielle Waterman, 10. Katy McClean, 9. Amy Turner, 1. Venessa Gray, 2. Amy Garnett, 3. Katy Storie, 4. Tamara Taylor, 5. Jo McGilchrist, 6. Georgia Stevens, 7. Maggie Alphonsi, 8. Catherine Spencer
Sophie Hemming for Gray (40), Sarah Beale for Spencer (58), Emma Layland for Garnett (65), Sarah Hunter for Alphonsi (65), Michaela Staniford for Allan (65), Karen Andrew for McLean (73)