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Alison Miller marks return to fray with score as Ireland thwart Scots

Scotland 5-22 Ireland

By Lee Jones

After a year's absence through injury, Alison Miller marked her return to the international scene with a try as Ireland women claimed a bonus point victory over Scotland to lift their Six Nations hopes.

Aoife McDermott and Leah Lyons crossed in the first half, while Ireland continued to dominate after the break and were deserving winners.

Played in extremely challenging conditions, both sides struggled to play quality rugby, but after an hour Anna Caplice sealed the bonus point with Ireland's fourth try.

After last weekend's 44-point reversal against England it would have been understandable if Ireland had began this Scotstoun clash nervously, but instead they totally bossed the opening action.

By the 10th minute they had owned 70% of possession but crucially they also had scored the game's opening try, when lock McDermott carried well and crossed for her first Ireland try.

Ireland had retained possession well in that opening quarter, while Scotland - bruised by last week's home loss to Italy -struggled in attack, but they impressed with their tight defensive line.

After 20 minutes they turned down a penalty under the posts in favour of a scrum, and while that initial chance went unclaimed, they held possession and Hannah Smith showed great pace to level the scores.

On a night that we saw tighthead Lyons throwing into the lineout and Scottish hooker Lana Skeldon place-kicking for the home side, it was the Ireland No.3 who struck next as she crashed over thanks to the assistance of Laura Feely for a 10-5 interval lead.

While there was plenty of poor passing and slack handling in the tricky Glasgow conditions, a highlight was seeing Miller back in the team after injury. And five minutes after the break she finished off a move from right to left and slid over in the corner.

Ireland continued to dominate, and the bonus point try arrived after 58 minutes.

Lyons and Claire Molloy were stopped just short before Caplice managed to wriggle over from close range, and Nicole Fowley added the extras.

There were also debuts for sevens stars Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird and Claire Boles in a stop-start final quarter.

SCORERS: Scotland: H Smith try. Ireland: A McDermott, L Lyons, A Miller, A Caplice tries; N Foley con.

IRELAND: L Delany; E Considine, S Naoupu, M Claffey, A Miller (M Williams 64); N Fowley (E Murphy 74), A Hughes (K Dane 60); L Feely (L Djougang 67), E Hooban (D Nic a Bhaird 60), L Lyons; A McDermott, N Fryday; A Caplice (C McLaughlin 70) (Caplice 74 HIA), C Molloy (C Boles 60), C Griffin (c).

REF: MB Benvenuti (Italy)

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