Navan RFC, Women's Six Nations
Another game of excellent individual contributions and long periods of dominance, yet ultimately, frustration and disappointment were Ireland s only outcomes. The 9-0 score line underlines how close these two sides now are, but Ireland will definitely view this as one that got away.
On a clear, calm but cold night in Navan, Scotland started the stronger, and had their first chance to put points on the board in the 2nd minute of the match after Ireland were penalised for hands in the ruck just outside their own 22m and 10m from touch. Scottish scrumhalf, Paula Chalmers, made a good connection, but the ball fell just short. It would be her only miss of the match and gave Ireland a warning that they shouldn t infringe with 30m of their own posts.
A lesson they didn t heed, and less than 3 minutes later Lynne Cantwell failed to roll away from a tackle to give Chalmers a chance to make immediate amends for the earlier miss from inside the Irish 22. Chalmers coolly slotted the kick for a 3-0 lead to Scotland after 5 minutes.
After the early score, Ireland then enjoyed a period of sustained pressure, however, opportunities went begging as numerous handling errors occurred just when Ireland was building some pressure.
Just when it looked like a halftime score line of 3-0 was likely, Scotland broke out. A terrific run by Scottish right winger Chris Ovenden had Scotland within 15 metres of the Irish line. From the resulting ruck, Ireland s inside backs were judged off-side and Chalmers slotted the kick to send the teams in at the half with a 6-0 score line to Scotland.
Ireland should have been on the board soon after the restart as another Scottish penalty gave then a great scoring opportunity, however, from around the 22 and in front of the posts, Sarahjane Belton put her shot wide.
Midway through the second half the killer blow was stuck for the Scots. A good Scottish attack had Ireland stretched, but Davitt and Centre Patrique Kelly made a great double tackle. At the break down Welsh referee Phil Connett penalised Kelly for coming in from the side and gave her a yellow card. Chalmers stepped up and nailed the kick to stretch the Scottish lead to 9-0 on the 60 minute mark.
Ireland should have been on the scoreboard during the final quarter. The best try scoring chance of the whole game came a few minutes later, when Lynne Cantwell broke through the line. The Scottish cover defence was struggling to deal with the threat, and just as Cantwell looked she might be in for the score an ankle tap tackle brought her down 5m from the line. However, the ball was retained and the normally highly reliable Tania Rosser gave a poor pass at Joy Neville s knees when the open try line was beckoning from only 3m out. The chance was gone, and so, you sensed, was Ireland s chance of pulling off their first ever win against the Scots.
J O Sullivan, N Ni Chaidhan, L Cantwell, P Kelly, G Davitt, SJ Belton (c), T Rosser, F Coughlan (vc), J Lonergan, M Barrett, C Mahon, G Healy, O Brennan, R Boyd J Neville:
Replacements: S Ryan for R Boyd 72 minutes
L Millard, C Ovenden, R Petlevannaya, V Fitzpatrick, L Douglas, M Tiernan, P Chalmers (c), K Findlay, I Frickleton, G McCord, L Miller, S Mee, S Browne, S Watt, D Kennedy
Replacements: V Wiseman, L Reid, C Muir, B MacLeod, L Dalgliesh, C Cruikshank, S Mears
Referee: Phil Connett (WRU)