Ireland women’s head coach Adam Griggs was a relieved figure after seeing his side overcome the stubborn challenge of Scotland in their Six Nations opener at Donnybrook.
Following first-quarter tries from Cliodhna Moloney and Sene Naoupu, the hosts looked set for a straightforward afternoon in this Six Nations Opener.
Scotland subsequently worked their way back into contention, before Beibhinn Parson’s intercept score sealed Ireland’s first competitive triumph in just under 12 months.
"We needed the win, we said we’d take it, if it was ugly. It was definitely ugly at times, but we’ll take the result and hopefully, we can move forward,” Griggs remarked.
“Our hope now is to put more of a complete performance in next week [another home encounter against Wales] in front of the brilliant crowd that we have. Hopefully that’s rewarded with another victory.”
Ireland had last secured victory on February 8 of last year - a bonus-point triumph against the Scots in Glasgow.
The home side certainly set out their stall in the opening stages, their attacking intent duly rewarded with Ellen Murphy’s opening penalty.
Moloney was a making a welcome return to Six Nations rugby and after capitalising on Anna Caplice’s excellent play, she powered over the Scottish whitewash for a 10th-minute try.
Even though Murphy’s strike for a conversion was off-target, a second try swiftly followed courtesy of Naoupu to give Ireland a deserved 13-point cushion.
However, Moloney was withdrawn with a head injury on 27 minutes and Scotland centre Lisa Thomson pounced for a stoppage-time try shortly afterwards.
A Helen Nelson conversion reduced Ireland’s interval deficit to six (13-7) and the hosts suffered a fresh setback when captain Ciara Griffin was withdrawn at the break.
Scotland pressed relentlessly on the restart and found themselves camped inside the Irish ’22’.
But all their toil and hard work was undone when Sarah Law’s wayward pass fell into the path of the grateful Beibhinn Parsons.
The Galway teenager raced the length of the field to touch down on 67 minutes.
While Emma Wassell’s converted try made matters interesting in the final minutes, Ireland held out for a morale-boosting win.
Ahead of their round two clash against Wales next Sunday, Griggs is hopeful they can build on the best aspect of Sunday's performance while also ensuring their discipline remains in check.
“The first 20, 25 minutes we were really sharp. Everything that we’d practiced was starting to come off. We looked really good and then we gave away a lot of penalties. I think some of the calls are pretty harsh on us at times. But at the same time, we’ve just got to be better at managing the game that way,” Griggs added.
Scorers for Ireland: C Moloney, S Naoupu, B Parsons try each, E Murphy pen.
Scorers for Scotland: L Thomson, E Wassell try each, H Nelson, S Law con each.
IRELAND: L Delany; A Doyle, S Naoupu, M Claffey, B Parsons; E Murphy, K Dane; L Peat, C Moloney, L Djougang; A McDermott, N Fryday; C Griffin, E McMahon, A Caplice.
Replacements: V Dabanovich-O’Mahony for Moloney (27), D Wall for Griffin (h-t), L Lyons for Djougang (55), N Cronin for Dane (57), L Feely for Peat (58), C Cooney for McDermott (67), C Keohane for Murphy (68).
SCOTLAND: C Rollie; R Lloyd, H Smith, L Thomson, M Gaffney; H Nelson, M McDonald; L Bartlett, L Skeldon, M Forsyth; E Wassell, S Bonar; R Malcolm, R McLachlan, J Konkel.
Replacements: S Law for Nelson (51), S Cattigan for McLachlan (57), L Cockburn for Bartlett (62), L McMillan for Malcolm (69), E Tonkin for Gaffney (71), M Wright for Konkel (76).
Referee: A Groizeleau (France).