Ireland Women claimed a historic victory in their inaugural International Test match in Colwyn Bay on Sunday afternoon. Clodagh Dunne scored Ireland’s opener, before further scores from Bettie Lambert, Stacey Greenwood, Storm Cobain and Alex McGuinness.
The Irish started well completing their opening two sets and challenging the Welsh backline with their high kicks from the boot of Captain Stacey Greenwood. Wales went over for the opening score in the 8th minute, Lowri Norkett finding her way over in the left corner, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful to see Wales to the 4-0 lead.
Ireland were close in the 16th minute, Steph Carroll finding some space to offload to Ray Lawless on the left wing but the ball was spilled to relieve Wales. Just moments later and Ireland were close once more, Pip Birchall was just short of the uprights with a step inside before Storm Cobain had an opportunity, but the pass was wayward.
Ireland did get their reward in the 21st minute, the left hand side causing trouble for Wales and Clodagh Dunne stepped inside to crash over for Ireland’s first ever International try, the conversion attempt from Birchall was just short to level the scores at 4-4.
Wales edged back in front shortly afterwards, Copley was adjudged to have spilled the pill at the play the ball to allow Wales deep into Irish territory and an overlap on the right edge saw Eleri Michael go over for Wales’ second, Ffion Lewis missed the conversion attempt for 8-4.
Ireland were back in front just short of the half time hooter, a kick from Greenwood wasn’t dealt with by Wales and the ball fell to Bettie Lambert to go over. The conversion from Syphonia Pua was inch perfect to give Ireland the 10-8 lead at the break.
Ireland were over within two minutes of the restart, Stacey Greenwood ran the line but was caught high, quick thinking saw the skipper take the quick tap and ease over for the score. Pua added her second conversion attempt and Ireland had the 16-8 lead.
Ffion Lewis got one back for Wales a few minutes later, earning herself a penalty before taking the quick tap and diving over from close range. The conversion attempt from Lewis was wide and the score was at 16-12 to Ireland.
Storm Cobain then got in on the act as she went over for Ireland’s fourth of the afternoon, latching onto a flat pass from Greenwood to glide through a gap and get her name on the scoresheet. Pua’s conversion attempt just whistled past the wrong side of the sticks but Ireland led 20-12.
Ffion Lewis added her second of the afternoon for Wales with a short dart to score under the uprights, her conversion attempt ricocheted back off the sticks and it was 20-16 to Ireland.
Alex McGuinness added another for Ireland to reduce the defecit, helping out Greenwood in the middle of the park to go over. McGuinness converted her own effort to put the score 26-16 in Ireland’s favour with 10 minutes to go.
Lowri Norkett grabbed another back for Wales with 5 minutes to go, another unsuccessful conversion saw the scores at 26-20 to Ireland with the clock ticking down. Ffion Lewis completed a second half hat-trick in the 79thminute, but the conversion from the left touchline was unsuccessful to hand Ireland a historic win in their first ever International test match.
Wales Women: Leanne Burnell, Rafiuke Taylor, Lowri Norkett, Seren Gough-Walters, Eleri Michael, Carys Marsh, Ffion Lewis (c), Emily Hughes, Molly Reardon, Ffion Jones, Bryonie King, Charlie Mundy, Kathryn Salter
Interchange: Rebecca Davies, Joanne McGuire, Keira McCosh, Sara Jones
Tries: Norkett (8’, 76’), Michael (26’), Lewis (45’, 59’, 79’)
Goals: Lewis 0/5 Salter 0/1
Ireland Women: Francessca Copley, Roisin Crowe, Bettie Lambert, Steph Carroll, Ray Lawless, Syphonia Pua, Stacey Greenwood (c), Sarah Lovejoy, Erin Coll, Mairead Quinn, Storm Cobain, Paige Costello, Pip Birchall
Interchange: Iona McCusker, Amy O’Neill, Alex McGuinness, Clodagh Dunne
Tries: Dunne (21’), Lambert (35’), Greenwood (42’), Cobain (52’), McGuinness (69’)
Goals: Birchall 0/1, Pua 2/3, McGuinness 1/1