Connacht Women signifiy growing mettle in interpro win

It was Connacht's day, and well deserved too.

Lyndon Jones' women's team saw off favourites Leinster at the death. It took a huge dose of self belief and no little determination to come back from 17-8 arrears to secure a significant 18-17 victory - only their second win since 2016.

It ensures Connacht head to Musgrave Park for an important joust with favourites Munster. Armed with increasing confidence, they will face a real test up front, but, having denied Leinster will provide much-needed confidence and impetus.

Despite having lost the services of some key experienced campaigners, coach Lyndon Jones had successfully produced some young players into the squad, and they produced a display of fortitude, and no little skill. It was that growing belief which ensured they stuck to task and delivered a late try to take the spoils - international Méabh Deely scoring the 81st-minute try, having also delivered the opener within in the opening two minutes.

That first try gave the home side a huge boost in confidence as they dominated for long periods, holding an 8-5 lead with Leinster lock Eimear Corri having produced a superb 15th-minute try.

Leinster took control in the second half, scoring tries through Sene Taiti-Fanene and new cap Naoise O'Reilly, and ahead by 17-8, it was going to take something special from the home side. Their backs rose to the occasion, delivering in spades with their ability to maintain possession. Aoibheann Reilly was lively and secure at halfback, while Deely was also a huge influence. She played her part before replacement Orla Dixon scored a try. Dixon was also instrumental in the winning try. Dogged at the breakdown and maintaining possession, she set up the last show before Clara Barrett breezed past Jess Keating and delivered the perfect pass to Deely for the winning try.

Despite what seemed an eternity of extra time, Connacht survived any late attempts by Leinster and secured a well-deserved win.

Connacht: M Deely; A Ryder, C Barrett, S Touhey, L McGonagle; N Fowley (capt ), A Reilly; G O'Loughlin, L Brady, S Heapes, S McDermott, EMcCormack, O Fenton, K Tierney, I Kiripati. Replacements used: B Gleeson for Kiripati (9 ), N O'Grady for O'Loughlin (45 ), K Waldron for Gleeson, O Dixon for Ryder (both 55 ), D Canty for Heapes, S Hanley for McDermott (both 67 ), MStarr for Fenton (69 ), OHaverty for Reilly (79 ).

Leinster: N O'Reilly; E O’Byrne-White, A Dalton, S Taiti-Fanene, C Gorman; D O’Brien, K Whelan; A Moore, S Delaney, C Haney, RCampbell, E Corri, A Wafer, M Boyne, HO’Connor (capt ).Replacements used: L Callan for Delaney (18 ), C Molloy for Haney (60 ), L Mullen for D O'Brien, M O'Brien for O'Reilly (both 68 ), K Doran for Campbell, A O'Mahony for Wafer (both 74 ), AHughes for Whelan (75 ), J Keating for Moore (79 ).


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