Galway United's Jamie Erickson and Cork City's Jesse Mendez clash in action from the SSE Airtricity League Women's Premier game at Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Linley MacKenzie

Connacht Women will need to have recovered from a tough loss to Munster when they return the Sportsground to host Ulster on Saturday (2.30pm ).

After a hugely disappointing 46-7 loss to Munster in Musgrave Park, Connacht need to dust themselves down quickly to resurrect their interprovincial challenge which had started so promisingly with a win over Leinster. And another win on Saturday would ensure Connacht advance to this year's final.

Last weekend Munster were deserving winners, and while Connacht may not have reached the same level of performance as their opening win over Leinster, they were beaten by a superior side last weekend.

In essence the Munster pack dominated, and Connacht were always on the back foot. By half-time the hosts were 24-7 ahead - Connacht's try coming after 20 minutes when centre Clara Barrett was quickest to react after Nicole Fowley's 20th-minute effort hit the post.

There engineered plenty of chances, but on the day they were snuffed out by a hugely physical Munster.

Coach Lyndon Jones believes Connacht are better than last Saturday's display.

"I don't think we got near the performance level of last week, and that starts with the energy, which we didn't have this week, and the game got away form us. Unfortunately that is the way things can go when we don't manage to get into the game and get those early scores when we had the opportunity," he says.

"It was a tough day and we are very disappointed with the result, but also the performance. We are better than that and we didn't hit the heights of last week."

Connacht will hope to recapture the energy of their performance over Leinster when Ulster visit weekend. Both sides have met a number of times in what have always been tight matches, but Jones says his side will need to raise its performance levels to reflect its ability.

This is a real opportunity for Connacht. Ulster have lost to both Leinster and Munster, so Connacht can expect a reaction from them on Saturday. However, there is no reason why the home outfit, if they play to potential, will not come away with the win.

MUNSTER: E Considine; A Doyle, A McInerney, S Nunan, S Carroll; K Flannery, M Wall; R Ormond, C Farrell, F Reidy, D Wall (capt ), C O’Halloran, C Pearse, M Óg O’Leary, D Nic a Bháird. Replacements used: E Cahill, B Buttimer, C Bennett, A Salter-Townshend, J Clohessy, E Boylan, B Heylmann, H Kennedy.

CONNACHT: M Deely; A Ryder, C Barrett, K Waldron, L McGonagle; N Fowley (capt ), O Haverty; G O’Loughlin, L Brady, S Heapes, S McDermott, F Oviawe, O Fenton, K Tierney, S Touhey. Replacements used: S Hanley for Fenton (40-47, N O'Grady for O'Loughlin (half-time ), I Kiripati for Oviawe (49 ), M Kelleher for Waldron, O Dixon for McGonagle (both 53 ), D Canty for Heapes (65 ), C O'Sullivan for Fowley (68 ), H for Brady, M Starr for McDermott (both 69 ).


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