Munster secured a hard-fought 26-17 win over Leinster in Musgrave Park this afternoon to make it two wins from two in this season’s Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship.
It was closely fought encounter throughout with Niamh Briggs’ side taking a 14-7 lead into the half-time break after tries from Deirbhile Nic a Bháird and Róisín Ormond with Nicole Cronin notching both conversions.
Early in the second-half, Clodagh O’Halloran’s try gave Munster some breathing room as Munster stretched out their lead to 21-7. However, Leinster mounted a comeback and with just four points between the sides, Stephanie Carroll crossed in the corner to ensure victory for Munster in what was a heart-stopping closing 10 minutes of the game.
It was a frantic opening 10 minutes after a number of penalty concessions from Munster saw Leinster kick to the corner. After some solid defending, Jenny Murphy found a gap to cross for the game’s opening score. Dannah O’Brien’s conversion was good as Leinster took an early 0-7 lead.
Munster hit back almost immediately. Deirbhile Nic a Bháird crossed for Munster after a lovely move up the far touchline which involved an offload from Alana McInerney. Nicole landed a tricky conversion to level the game at 7-7.
Munster were under a bit of pressure soon after but Maeve Óg O’Leary ripped the ball in the tackle to sprint up the pitch. She was tackled just before the 22 but a Leinster knock on gave Munster a good scrum platform to attack.
From this period of possession. Munster crossed for their second try. A number of close-range carries eventually saw Róisín Ormond power over and Cronin’s conversion gave Munster a 14-7 lead.
Despite some good breaks, Munster couldn’t add more to the scoreboard in the first-half. Instead, Leinster dominated proceedings with their strong scrum earning them a good platform throughout.
Thankfully, Munster’s defence was resolute and they defended numerous waves of Leinster attack. With half-time approaching, try-scorer Murphy was sin-binned for Leinster for a high tackle on Aoife Corey.
Munster got into the dressing rooms for half-time with a 14-7 lead and they stretched their lead further just minutes into the second period when O’Halloran crossed from close range. Cronin landed the conversion to give Munster a 21-7 lead.
Leinster didn’t wilt, however. They kept coming at Munster and the pressure finally told when Elise O’Byrne-White crossed in the corner to reduce the deficit to 21-12.
Munster defended heroically as the game reached its conclusion but after Maeve Óg O’Leary was shown a yellow card, Leinster made the numerical advantage count when Anna Doyle crossed in the corner.
With just four points between the sides, the strong home support roared Munster on and with the game nearing the final two minutes, Munster made some inroads which saw Stephanie Carroll cross in the corner to euphoric scenes in the stands on the sideline.
Cronin’s conversion was her first miss of the day but it didn’t matter as Munster secured a 26-17 win and now look forward to facing Connacht in Galway next weekend.
Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship Round 2 Round-Up
Maeve Óg O’Leary was awarded the Vodafone Player of the Match
Munster have now secured two bonus-point wins in this season’s Interpros.
Munster now travel to Connacht next weekend where a win in Galway will see Munster lift the title.