Munster’s bid to reclaim the Interprovincial title took another step forward yesterday as they scored a huge win over Connacht at Musgrave Park.
Irish captain Sarah Jane Belton scored the first of seven tries ten minutes in as she beat two defenders to touch down in the right hand corner.
Mairead Kelly, who is also a member of the Cork ladies football squad, burst through from the wing to score soon after and Munster’s pack was rewarded for their well organised line-out when lock Deirdre Scannell crashed over from a strong drive.
Kelly scored again in the left corner before the break.
In the second half another well taken lineout allowed Munster set up a strong attacking position and Munster captain Amanda Greensmith finished extremely well for her touchdown.
Munster made a host of substitutions during the half and as well as these Belton moved back to fullback and she showed her talent in full flight when she beat four tacklers on her way to her second try of the day.
She thought she had completed her hat-trick soon after when she crossed again, but referee John Sheehan adjudged her to have knocked on.
The decision incensed her and her arguing saw her yellow carded with only minutes left. Kelly scored the best try of the match just before the end when she showed both pace and power to beat a number of tacklers before scoring and ensuring her name was entered three times on the score sheet.
Munster coach Fergus O’Donoghue said that his side deserved their convincing win.
“It was a very stop-start game and that really didn’t help the flow of it. What we wanted was fast ball off both first and second phase so when that wasn’t happening it was difficult. The girls kept trying things though and I was delighted that they did score a few times of first phase, which is a hard thing to do. They also used their heads with the plays they called and were mixing it up right to the end.”
Munster: A Greensmith, C Murphy, J Feighery, H Brosnan, M Kelly, S J Belton, L Beamish, L Guest, C Fanning, M Barrett, K O ‘Loughlin, Dee Scannell, R McNulty, P O’Connor, H Jones
Replacements: K Fitzpatrick (for J Feighery 40), M Halbert (for L Beamish 40), N Briggs (for C Murphy 58), A Mahony (for P O’Connor 58), D O’Brien (for D Scannell 70), K Sheehan (for C Fanning 70)
Connacht: O Creedon, S Healy, N Ni Chaidhaon, C Caffrey, M Fitzgerald, C Ni Caba, S Ni Chaidhain, R O’Reilly, D Wright, W Hickey, K Went, T Johnson, J Wynne, E O’Dowd
Replacements: G Bourke (for R O’Reilly 30), E Neville (for M Fitzgerald 38), F Hayes (for W Hickey 50), G Kelly (for S Ni Chaidhain 70)
Referee: John Sheehan