Leinster ladies win first Interpro crown

Leinster 17 Munster 7

Munster’s four year reign as senior Interprovincial champions came to a crushing end in Clontarf as Leinster ran out convincing winners with ten points to spare in this year’s final.

A superb first half performance from Leinster saw the host province take a shock 17-0 lead at the break.

Although they had beaten Munster for the first time in four years a few weeks ago in Cork, few would have predicted that half-time scoreline, but it was utterly deserved as they completely dominated the opening exchanges.

Orla Brennan put her side ahead after only five minutes when she took advantage of a messy Munster line-out in their own ’22 and Munster were already struggling to defend their line with Leinster pushing hard on attack from the off.

Lynne Cantwell, who was Munster’s try scoring hero in last year’s Interpro’ final, scored against her former province to put Leinster even further ahead when she capitalised on a wide overlap to easily touch down under the posts and give Joanne O’Sullivan an easy convertion twenty minutes in.

Munster did nothing to suggest that they could bring themselves back into contention with only number 8 Joy Neville really impressing going forward and they were forced to defend for long periods as Leinster looked to put the game beyond reach by the break.

They did that when Grace Davitt was on the end of a good phase of hands from Leinster’s backline and at 17-0 it looked nigh on impossible that Munster could come back.

Credit to them however because they threw everything they could at their opponents in the second half, and they would have scored more than the one try they eventually picked up, if it hadn’t been for a superb Leinster rear-guard which was one of the most impressive aspects of their game. Munster’s try came from a charge down on out-half Julie Craig’s kick when substitute Jean Lonergan grabbed the ball to crash over.

There were euphoric scenes at the whistle as Leinster collected their first ever Interprovincial title.

Munster are down but most certainly not out and their spirited second half performance will give them some hope next season when they prepare to try and win this competition once more.

Leinster captain Caroline Mahon said: “We couldn’t believe we were 17-0 up at the break but we knew Munster would come out all guns blazing and they did but our defence was fantastic. I’m delighted for this team to have finally won this title because we were gutted last year to lose out and we’ve proved that we are the best team in Ireland.”

Earlier in the day Ulster were 12-0 winners over Connacht in the third and fourth placed play-offs.

Munster: Jeanette Feighery, Mairead Kelly, Stacey Kucharchuk, Patrique Kelly (c), Amanda Greensmith, Sarahjane Belton, Louise Beamish, Marie Barrett, Emma Stanley, Laura Guest, Tracy O’Dwyer, Deirdre O’Brien, RachelTucker, EimearO'Sullivan, Joy Neville. Subs: Jean Lonergan (for Stanley 55), Deirdre Lynch (for Kucharchuk 65)

Leinster: Joanne O Sullivan, Grace Davitt, Shannon Houston, Ailish Egan, Lynne Cantwell, Julie Craig, Tania Rosser, Fiona Coghlan, Shirley Corcoran, , Sandra McAleer , Germaine Healy, Caroline Mahon (c), Sinead Ryan, Yvonne Nolan, Orla Brennan - Blackrock

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