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Claire scores Aviva first for Ireland's women

By Niall Crozier

Ireland 39 Italy 0: It was a test case and Ireland 's women passed it, with a crowd of just short of 6,000 remaining after the RBS 6 Nations main course to watch Philip Doyle's side beat their Italian counterparts 39-0 in the Aviva Stadium dessert course.

The men having scored seven tries, the Irish women managed five with Claire Molloy writing her name into the annals of Irish rugby history by becoming the first female to touch down at the Aviva Stadium.

Lynne Cantwell, Alison Miller, Heather O'Brien and Jennifer Murphy followed her example by getting in on the act as Ireland put their guests to the sword.

The Irish forwards not only paved the way but accounted for three of those five scores.

As with their men, Italy's women defended with admirable courage. But a brace of Niamh Briggs penalties in the opening 30 minutes had Ireland in charge and on 32 minutes flanker Molloy ran a great line before cutting inside to breach the defence leaving Briggs to convert.And before half-time, Cantwell – playing her final home international – got over to score, with Briggs again on target for the extras.

Ireland kept the momentum going after the break with Miller capping her impressive evening's work with a good try which effectively heralded the end of the Italian resistance. Their scrum crumbled in the final quarter at the cost of a string of penalties.

With Ireland dominant in the set-piece it came as no surprise when No8 O'Brien scored, with Briggs again adding important conversion points to bolster her side's differential ahead of a potential championship decider against France.

Belfast Telegraph


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