Match abandoned as Ireland take the lead

Ireland women 10 Wales women 3, Ashbourne RFC (Match abandoned at half-time due to frozen pitch)

Ireland women 10 Wales women 3, Ashbourne RFC (Match abandoned at half-time due to frozen pitch)

The Ireland and Wales Women will have to meet again after their Six Nations match was abandoned in Ashbourne tonight.

Scottish referee Kevin White called the game off at half-time for health and safety reasons, with the pitch hardening in the freezing temperatures.

Ireland had scored the only try in the 18th minute through an excellent run from winger Alison Miller, with centre Niamh Briggs adding the conversion.

Wales' Laura Prosser and Briggs swapped penalties in the closing minutes of the half as Ireland moved 10-3 ahead for the break.

With player safety paramount, the decision was taken to halt proceedings prematurely. The match result does not stand, a replay was offered for tomorrow but Wales declined.

The Six Nations sub-committee will meet next week to set a date for a replay between the teams at the same County Meath venue.

It was an unsatisfactory end to a night which had started brightly for Philip Doyle's Irish side, who suffered a one-point defeat to Wales in Gwent in last year's corresponding fixture.

The girls in green were camped in the Welsh half for most of the opening quarter at Ashbourne RFC. They were unfortunate not to make more of a Claire Molloy turnover which resulted in a powerful burst from debutant lock Sophie Spence.

The large home support roared their approval when the breakthrough was made at the midpoint of the half. Miller produced a terrific run from deep to outfox the Welsh defence and give Ireland just reward for their early efforts.

Briggs, playing in the centre with Lynne Cantwell covering the out-half position, added the conversion but Wales forced Ireland to defend for much of the next 20 minutes.

Briggs brought down Welsh scrum half Prosser with a meaty challenge, and there were further strong tackles from the newly-capped Ashleigh Baxter and the returning Grace Davitt.

Wales had flanker Sioned Harries sin-binned in the 36th minute, but they kept the pressure on the Irish defence and forced a penalty which Prosser converted.

Ireland managed to have the final say of the half with Briggs kicking them back into a seven-point lead deep into injury-time.

Scorers: Ireland: Try: Alison Miller; Con: Niamh Briggs; Pen: Niamh Briggs

Wales: Pen: Laura Prosser

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