Clinical Irish show real grit

Ireland’s women called upon endless reserves of defensive grit for the second week running as they defeated Scotland in Ashbourne.

Playing their third home match in successive weeks, the Irish constantly probed out wide and, on a better night for handling, could have doubled their eventual try count of three.

Ashleigh Baxter and Niamh Kavanagh were dynamos in the back line and combined on six minutes to help put Sophie Spence over. Niamh Briggs added the conversion but missed a penalty after 11 minutes.

The ever impressive Claire Molloy and the recalled Paula Fitzpatrick kept the Scottish at bay and the home defence was disciplined during a period of sustained pressure.

Ireland were clinical in increasing their lead on 29 minutes when good work from Lynne Cantwell gave Baxter the space to score.

It was not until the 71st minute that the tie was made safe as Joy Neville and Briggs were the chief architects of a sweeping move that led to Alison Miller diving over in the corner.

Scorers for Ireland: Tries: Spence, Baxter, Miller. Con: Briggs. Pen: Briggs.

IRELAND: A Baxter; N Kavanagh (J Murphy 67), N Briggs, G Davitt (S Houston 63), A Miller, L Cantwell, A Davis (L Muldoon 57) ; F Coghlan (capt) (R O’Reilly 73), P Fitzpatrick (G Bourke 52) , A Egan, M.L Reilly (S Fleming 73), S Spence, L Guest (H O’Brien 55), C Molloy, J Neville

SCOTLAND: S Johnston; K Green, L Steven, L Ritchie, S Dixon (L Harris 67), (L Martin 67), T Griffith, L Dalgliesh; T Balmer (A Macdonald 52), S Quick (H Lockhart 52), B Dickens, A Swan (K Muir 71), J Forsyth (C Veale 67), L Wheeler, R Slaven (T Forsberg), S Brown

Referee: S Bros (France).

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