Ireland stun Wales in Cork

Ireland were full value for their comprehensive win over Wales, winning 36-5 on home soil, with a victory of real dominance.

Published by Alison Donnelly, April 13th, 2024

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Ireland stun Wales in Cork

The win snapped a seven-game losing streak in this competition for the Irish, and confined Wales to a third loss in a row.

Ireland’s first hour was superb, with Wales only managing to get a platform late in the game.

Aoife Wafer, who has been Ireland’s star find, was outstanding and kicked the scoring off with a powerful finish as Ireland put together some impressive phases early on and grew in confidence.

Dannah O'Brien, whose kicking was making life difficult for Wales, nailed a wide conversation and Ireland scored again after a brilliant break from Aoibheann Reilly, with Eve Higgins this time providing the finish.

Wales were struggling to get any foothold in the game at all, struggling to win anything at the breakdown and spending most of their time back pedalling. When Neve Jones touched down from a driving lineout it then took a superb Alex Callender  turnover to stop Ireland getting a bonus point try before had time.

Wales started the second half terribly, when Katie Corrigan blocked Lleucu George's attempted clearance, gathering the bouncing ball to speed in beside the posts to add the fourth try almost immediately.

O'Brien converted and also addded on a 48th-minute penalty, and Ireland immediately started to think about Twickenham next weekend, with Scott Bemand rolling his bench on.

Among them was Clíodhna Moloney, making her first appearance since the 2021 November Tests, while Aoife Dalton made an immediate impact, almost scoring on her first carry.

Beibheann Parsons scored next, finishing well out wide, before Wales enjoyed their best spell of the match with a try from Gwennan Hopkins, and another score which was later chalked off for a forward pass.

This was Ireland’s best performance in years, and though no one expects them to trouble England next weekend, their final home game against Scotland will be a real target.

Wales will have to face France next weekend, knowing that a loss will mean they’ll play Italy on the final day to avoid the Wooden Spoon – quite a come down after third last season.

IRELAND: Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby); Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster), Enya Breen (Blackrock College/Munster), Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College/Connacht); Dannah O'Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College/Connacht); Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury), Christy Haney Blackrock College/Leinster), Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/Munster), Sam Monaghan (Gloucester-Hartpury) (co-capt), Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College/Leinster), Edel McMahon (Exeter Chiefs) (co-capt), Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere/Ulster).

Replacements used: Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere/Ulster) for Monaghan (48 mins), Clíodhna Moloney (Exeter Chiefs) for Jones (51), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Leinster) for Reilly, Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Higgins (both 54), Shannon Ikahihifo (Ealing Trailfinders/IQ Rugby) for Hogan (56), Niamh O'Dowd (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Haney, Sadhbh McGrath (Cooke/Ulster) for Djougang (both 63), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht) for McMahon (66).

WALES: Jenny Hesketh (Bristol Bears); Jasmine Joyce (Bristol Bears/GB Sevens), Hannah Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury) (capt), Kerin Lake (Gloucester-Hartpury), Carys Cox (Ealing Trailfinders); Lleucu George (Gloucester-Hartpury), Keira Bevan (Bristol Bears); Gwenllian Pyrs (Bristol Bears), Carys Phillips (Harlequins), Sisilia Tuipulotu (Gloucester-Hartpury), Abbie Fleming (Harlequins), Georgia Evans (Saracens), Alisha Butchers (Bristol Bears), Alex Callender (Brython Thunder), Bethan Lewis (Gloucester-Hartpury).

Replacements used: Natalia John (Brython Thunder) for Lewis (28 mins), Courtney Keight (Bristol Bears) for Lake (32), Sian Jones (Sale Sharks) for Bevan (51), Molly Reardon (Cardiff Met) for Phillips (51), Abbey Constable (Gloucester-Hartpury) for Pyrs, Donna Rose (Saracens) for Tuipulotu (both 68), Gwennan Hopkins (Gwalia Lightning) for Fleming, Kayleigh Powell (Bristol Bears/GB Sevens) for George (both 60).

Referee: Sara Cox (England)