Mighty Munster win Women’s Interpros on scoring difference

Munster regained the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship crown by virtue of scoring difference after defeating 2016 champions Leinster (11-5) at Thomond Park on Saturday.

Mighty Munster win Women’s Interpros on scoring difference

In Laura Guest’s first season in charge, their second win of the campaign saw them pip Leinster - but only just.

With Munster and Leinster finishing with two victories and 10 Championship points apiece, it was the Reds who were crowned champions thanks to their +29 scoring differential, compared to Leinster’s +27.

Connacht’s resurgence under new head coach Jarleth Naughton continued on the day with the westerners’ 29-7 bonus point victory over Ulster seeing them finish on a nine-point tally in third.

Former Ireland flanker Siobhan Fleming captained Munster to a remarkable victory and told her teammates: “I’m so proud, you have no idea, so, so proud. Thank you so much for all you have given.”

Adam Griggs’ Leinster side entered the game in pole position, armed with a three-point lead at the summit. The top of the table clash was tight and tense throughout with both provinces well aware of the various permutations which would secure them the prized Interpro silverware.

With Ciara Griffin, Niamh Kavanagh and goal-kicking scrum-half Ellen Murphy leading the charge, Munster held a 6-0 interval lead with Murphy splitting the posts after eight and 11 minutes. Leinster were foiled by a couple of knock-ons, but a late break involving Nicole Carroll and Sene Naoupu, two newcomers to the squad this season, raised their hopes ahead of the second half.

Munster were rewarded for patient build-up in the Leinster 22 when former Ireland hooker Gillian Bourke powered over on the end of a 50th-minute maul.

The conversion was missed and the visitors hit back with a five-pointer on the hour mark, as scrum-half Ailsa Hughes broke from the back of a maul to touch down.

Leinster had the majority of possession in the closing stages with number 8 and captain Paula Fitzpatrick leading by example. Prop Lindsay Peat came close to touching down but knocked on, and Munster’s resolute defence ensured that they wrapped up the result at the end of a compelling Interpro series.

Meanwhile, Connacht finished their campaign in style with an impressive and deserved 29-7 bonus point win over a youthful Ulster side in Belfast with Alison Miller, Jane O’Neill, Orla Dixon, Ciara O’Connor and Hilary Griffin on target for the winners.

Scorers for Munster:

Try: Gillian Bourke; Pens: Ellen Murphy 2

Scorers for Leinster:

Try: Ailsa Hughes


Laura O’Mahony (UL Bohemians); Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians), Aine Staunton (UL Bohemians), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), Syphonia Pua (UL Bohemians); Rachel Allen (UL Bohemians), Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere); Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians), Siobhan McCarthy (Railway Union), Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee) (capt), Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians).


Leah Lyons (Highfield), Maura Collins (Tralee), Zoe Grattage (Highfield), Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemians), Christine Arthurs (Highfield), Valerie Power (Shannon), Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians).


Nicole Carroll (Suttonians); Aimee Clarke (Railway Union), Aine Donnelly (Old Belvedere), Michelle Claffey (Blackrock), Susan Vaughan (Railway Union); Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union), Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union), Paula Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s) (capt).


Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere), Caoimhe Molloy (Gorey), Christy Haney (St. Mary’s), Rachel Horan (CYM), Meg Kendal (Railway Union), Megan Parkinson (Wicklow), Meaghan Kenny (Railway Union), Maria Kenny (Old Belvedere).

More in this section

CourtsRugbyMunster RugbyPlace: Thomond ParkPlace: BelfastPlace: BelvederePlace: Old BelvederePerson: Laura GuestPerson: Jarleth NaughtonPerson: Siobhan FlemingPerson: Adam Griggs’Person: Ciara GriffinPerson: Niamh KavanaghPerson: Ellen MurphyPerson: MurphyPerson: Nicole CarrollPerson: Sene NaoupuPerson: Gillian BourkePerson: Ailsa HughesPerson: Paula FitzpatrickPerson: Lindsay PeatPerson: Alison MillerPerson: Jane O’NeillPerson: Orla DixonPerson: Ciara O’ConnorPerson: Hilary GriffinPerson: Laura O’MahonyPerson: Laura SheehanPerson: Aine StauntonPerson: Syphonia PuaPerson: Rachel AllenPerson: Fiona HayesPerson: Fiona ReidyPerson: Siobhán McCarthyPerson: Chloe PearsePerson: Anna CaplicePerson: Leah LyonsPerson: Maura CollinsPerson: TraleePerson: Zoe GrattagePerson: Roisín OrmondPerson: BallincolligPerson: Edel MurphyPerson: Christine ArthursPerson: Valerie PowerPerson: ShannonPerson: Deirbhile Nic A BhairdPerson: Aimee ClarkePerson: Aine DonnellyPerson: Michelle ClaffeyPerson: Susan VaughanPerson: Cliodhna MoloneyPerson: Fiona O’BrienPerson: Aoife McDermottPerson: Orla FitzsimonsPerson: Sophie SpencePerson: Ciara CooneyPerson: Jennie FinlayPerson: Caoimhe MolloyPerson: GoreyPerson: Christy HaneyPerson: Rachel HoranPerson: Meg KendalPerson: Megan ParkinsonPerson: Meaghan KennyPerson: Maria KennyOrganisation: MunsterOrganisation: LeinsterOrganisation: RedsOrganisation: ConnachtOrganisation: UlsterOrganisation: PensOrganisation: UL BohemiansOrganisation: Old BelvedereOrganisation: Railway UnionOrganisation: TraleeOrganisation: HighfieldOrganisation: SuttoniansOrganisation: BlackrockOrganisation: St. Mary’sOrganisation: St Mary’sOrganisation: CYM

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox