5 Dec, 17:35
The Charity Cup Final between Cashel RFC and Cork Constitution FC will take place on Saturday, 14th December at Musgrave Park (kick-off 2pm).
Clonmel and Munster fullback Niamh Briggs kicked two penalties against the Italian side, while debutant Niamh Kavanagh from Highfield made a memorable start with her first international try in the opening half.
Leading 8-5 at the break after a tough opening half the Irish Women returned with three second half tries from Gillian Bourke, Claire Molly and Mairead Kelly, securing a confidence-boosting victory.
Highfield’s Geraldine Rea marked her debut in the centre with a player of the match performance while her fellow club woman Heather O’Brien won her first cap also when she came on as a 64th minute replacement for Carol Staunton.
Pleasing from an overall Ireland point of view was the performance of seven international newcomers, and speaking after the win Philip Doyle said “With a brand new squad this season, Italy away from home was always going to be a tough game to open our year.”
"They delivered on the physicality we were expecting and I'm delighted to come away with a win. It was great to see Niamh (Kavanagh) and Ger (Rea) do so well - these are new players for us and they were outstanding.”
Looking forward to the upcoming challenge against France Doyle added “We have a brand new squad this season and we capped a lot of new players last weekend. We have a very short turnaround time this week and we felt the need for continuity and to bed in the combinations."
"The French are a big challenge and it will be a stern test for some of the new girls but we are looking forward to playing in Ashbourne as we have been getting great support there in recent seasons."
Ireland Women v Italy Women:
15. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster)
14. Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster)
13. Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile)
12. Geraldine Rea (Highfield/Munster)
11. Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians/Munster)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
9. Amy Davis (Blackrock/Leinster)
1. Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) Captain
2. Gillian Bourke (Bristol/Munster)
3. Lauren Day (Waterloo/Ulster)
4. Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
5. Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster)
6. Carol Staunton (Galwegians/Connacht)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
8. Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster)
16. Stacey Kennedy (City of Derry/Ulster)
17. Emer McManamly (Blackrock/Leinster)
18. Deirdre O'Brien (Blackrock/Leinster)
19. Heather O'Brien (Highfield/Munster)
20. Larissa Muldoon (UWIC/Exile)
21. Gill Nolan (St. Mary's/Leinster)
22. Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Leinster)