This was billed as the perfect introduction for Leinster to the Women’s Interprovincial Championship at Tuam RFC on Saturday afternoon before tougher tasks to come.

It was anything but as Connacht were able to carve out their first win over The Blues in this competition.

It was not really a shock to those out West as they came in under the radar with a degree of confidence from how well they had prepared.

The underdogs tag really suited their need to disrupt and destroy Leinster’s plan to find the front-foot and take it from there into the wide channels on what was a cold, dry day for rugby.

The Blues seldom got to where they needed as Connacht turned up the heat in defence, led by captain Emma Clery.

Leinster Women

The signs were ominous in the first quarter as Leinster did not establish the superiority for which they were looking.

It turned serious when Connacht came straight for two phases to suck in numbers before the ball was flashed wide for full-back Mairead Coyne to clear a path to the line in the 21st minute.

The game was levelled up when Leinster broke out for an excellent individual try from wing Eimear Corri in the 54th minute, Jenny Murphy’s conversion just dropping short.

It should have been the tide-turner. It never really was.

The defences took hold again. Connacht were able to catch Leinster out with their clever use of the ball and camp out in Leinster’s territory to create a penalty which out-half Clare Raftery gladly guided through the sticks from straight in front in the 64th minute.

From there, it became a battle of wills and Connacht, on their home patch, were not willing to give ground. They saw it out with commendable bravery and discipline.

Adam Griggs

The Championship is not gone. In many ways, this is just the beginning.

“We are obviously very disappointed we couldn’t come away with the win,” said Leinster coach Adam Griggs.

“I suppose we need to work on our control. We did have a good bit of ball in the first-half. But, we didn’t do enough with it.

“Fair play to Connacht, they really stretched us, used a lot of width, and caught us out a couple of times on the edge which gave them good yards.”

There will be contact from the IRFU on Monday when Leinster will find out how many of their Ireland internationals will be released for provincial duty.

“Looking forward, we need to have more control of the ball we have in our hands and use better decision-making.”

Leinster will have to dust themselves down pretty quickly and get into a positive frame of mind for Ulster at Donnybrook next Saturday.

At Tuam RFC – CONNACHT 8 (M Coyne try; C Raftery pen); LEINSTER 5 (E Corri try).


CONNACHT: Mairead Coyne; Orla Dixon, Shannon Tuohey, Emma Clery (capt), Ursula Sammon; Clare Raftery, Jill Draper; Laura Feely, Ciaran O’Connor, Anne Marie O’Hora, Amelie Roux, Mar Sheridan, Heather Cary, Grainne Egan, Nichola Fryday.

Replacements (All Used): Eimear Murphy, Valerie Mitchell, Caroline Staunton, Tara Buggie, Carol Staunton, Shannen Lane, Mary Healy, Niamh Connolly.


Ali Coleman

Eimear Corri

Niamh Byrne

Jenny Murphy

Meaghan Kenny

Michelle Claffey / Nora Stapleton 44 mins

Ailsa Hughes / Niamh Griffin 70 mins;

Manuela McCarthy / Lindsey Peat ht;

Jennie Finlay / Anne-Marie Rooney 70 mins;

Fiona O’Brien

Susan Fogarty

Mairead Holohan / Ciara Cooney ht;

Katie Noris

Dawn Smith / Juliet Short 50 mins

Carmella Morey

Leinster Women face Ulster Women in Donnybrook Stadium on Saturday at 6.30pm. Tickets will be available on the gate.