Leinster lead the way in Ireland's annual Interprovincial competition which pits the country's four provinces against each other in a round robin tournament, followed by semi-finals and a final.
Leinster closed out the round stages of the Championship with a 20-13 win over Munster at Irish Independent Park at the weelend.
They are now seeded first and will play fourth-placed Ulster in their semi-final on September 14th.
Connacht’s 20-19 defeat of Ulster at Queen’s University means they will play Munster in the other semi-final.
Leinster’s multi-phase attack teed them up for their first try as a tip-on pass from Jeamie Deacon helped put Megan Williams over in the corner. Fiona Reidy responded with Munster’s only score of the first half.
Assured kicking from Hannah O’Connor and a Juliet Short try pushed the visitors further clear before Munster rallied with a try from pacy winger Laura Sheehan. O’Connor’s 10-point haul keeps her at the top of the points-scoring charts in this year’s championship.
Connacht’s campaign sprung into life with a win in Belfast. Ulster started the better side and looked on course after a brace of tries from hooker Stacey-Lea Kennedy helped them to a 12-8 half-time lead.
Full-back Mairead Coyne formed an impressive back-three for Connacht with Aoibheann Reilly and Alison Miller and it was Coyne who scored their first try of the championship. Reilly was next to cross before Laura Feely’s try and a conversion from Méabh Deely pushed them eight points clear. Lauren Maginnes’ try came in the last minute.
Ulster captain Neve Jones is glad there are more games to come in the reformatted competition. "Having the five games this year is going to improve women’s rugby across the whole island," she said.
"It gives girls more of a chance to play at a higher level. It’s not just three games and then you’re done for the year. The semi-finals and finals give girls something to work towards."
The semi-finals of both the Senior Women’s and U18 Women’s competitions will take place at St. Mary’s College RFC, Templeville Road on Saturday September 14th.
Leinster’s U18 Women also finished their round-robin phase unbeaten with a 22-10 win in Cork. Munster finish bottom after three games meaning the two sides will face each other in Dublin in two weeks’ time.
A strong first-half performance from Ulster helped them to a 19-12 win over Connacht and those sides meet in the other semi-final.
MU Barnhall RFC’s grounds in Parsonstown, Co. Kildare have been confirmed as the venue for the final round of games on September 21st.
Saturday August 31st, 2019
MUNSTER WOMEN 13 LEINSTER WOMEN 20, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Munster Women: Tries: Fiona Reidy, Laura Sheehan.
Leinster Women: Tries: Megan Williams, Juliet Short; Cons: Hannah O’Connor 2; Pen: Hannah O’Connor 2.
HT: Munster Women 5 Leinster Women 17
ULSTER WOMEN 19 CONNACHT WOMEN 20, Queen’s Sport, Upper Malone
Scorers: Ulster Women: Tries: Stacey-Lea Kennedy 2, Lauren Maginnes; Cons: Jemma Jackson, Shannon Touhey.
Connacht Women: Tries: Mairead Coyne, Aoibheann Reilly, Laura Feely; Con: Méabh Deely; Pen: Maeve Deely.
HT: Ulster Women 12 Connacht Women 8
IRFU U18 WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
ULSTER 18 WOMEN 19 CONNACHT U18 WOMEN 12, Queen’s Sport, Upper Malone
Scorers: Ulster U18 Women: Tries: Ava Fannin, Toni McCartney, Zara Flack; Con: Moya Hill
Connacht U18 Women: Tries: Mary McLaughlin, Zara Grehan; Con: Fodhla Ni Bhraonain.
HT: Ulster U18 Women 19 Connacht U18 Women 5
MUNSTER U18 WOMEN 10 LEINSTER U18 WOMEN 22, Irish Independent Park
Scorers: Munster U18 Women: Tries: Eileen Gleeson; Con: Emma Connolly; Pen: Emma Connolly.
Leinster U18 Women: Tries: Katie Whelan 2, Ellie Meade; Cons: Emma Kelly, Ava Jenkins Pens: Emma Kelly
HT: Munster U18 Women 3 Leinster U18 Women 8