Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Six Nations: Ireland's women beat Scotland to win Triple Crown

Girl power: Ireland's Ashleigh Baxter scores a try against Scotland.
Girl power: Ireland's Ashleigh Baxter scores a try against Scotland.
The Ireland women's rugby team who won the Triple Crown
Ulster women in the Ireland squad: Amy Davis
Ulster women in the Ireland squad: Ashleigh Baxter
Ulster women in the Ireland squad: Grace Davitt
Ulster women in the Ireland squad: Lauren Day
Ulster women in the Ireland squad: Stacey-Lea Kennedy
Close bond: Lauren Day and her beloved sister Channing

Ireland's women – including a strong contingent of Northern Ireland players – are storming the Six Nations competition with strong performances that have already made history by capturing their first ever Triple Crown.

The girls in green fulfilled their dreams on Saturday by beating Scotland 30-3 in Edinburgh. That stellar performance came just a week after a stunning 25-0 defeat of England in Ashbourne and an earlier 12-10 win over Wales.

They did what Ireland men couldn't manage at Murrayfield on Sunday, leaving their Six Nations campaign in tatters after losing 12-8 to Scotland.

While the men retreat to lick their wounds, the girls storm on, determined to add French and Italian scalps to their tally. They lie just two wins away from their maiden RBS Six Nations Grand Slam title.

The only disappointment was that the win wasn't televised.

Among the Ulster ladies making up the all-conquering squad are Ashleigh Baxter, Stacey-Lea Kennedy, Grace Davitt, Amy Davis, Lauren Day and Donegal girl Larissa Muldoon.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Amy Davis, from Whiteabbey, Co Antrim, said the whole squad is "absolutely over the moon".

"There was no wild party after," the 27-year-old said.

"We had a quiet night and watched the England France game. We have been building to this for the last five years and this year everything had just clicked into place.

"We are focusing on the game with France; it will be the hardest game of them all," she added.

Lauren Day – sister of Corporal Channing Day, the soldier from Comber, Co Down, killed in Afghanistan last year while on patrol in Helmand Province – also played on Saturday. The Waterloo and Irish Exiles player took to Twitter to share her joy.

She said: "FIRST EVER TRIPLE CROWN annnnd we'v qualified for the 2014 World Cup!!! Ire 30 Scotland 3 boooom!!! #wrugby"

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin and Ulster Rugby's head of domestic rugby, David Boyd, on Sunday night praised the achievement.

"This was a hard-fought match but Ireland got there in the end and now have the Grand Slam in their sights," Ms Ni Chuilin said.

David Boyd said: "It's tremendous to have so many Ulster girls involved.

"I am delighted for them and wish the team all the best for the remainder of the championship."

The Triple Crown is an honour contested annually by the four national teams of the British Isles, competing within the larger Six Nations Championship.

Having captured their first Triple Crown, Ireland women's rugby team now have their maiden Six Nations title in their sights.

The win also means Ireland have qualified for the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup.

Background

The Ireland women's rugby team started 20 years ago and women's rugby in Ulster is continuing to grow steadily.

From minimal participation less than 10 years ago there are now over 40 schools taking part in the Girls' Schools' Cup and an increase in participation in the game as a whole.

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