It turned out that way for the home side as they won the title for the first time in three years, preventing a Munster three-in-a-row.

Munster were first onto the front-foot and their forwards made the yards for Claire Keohane to straighten the attack until scrum-half Ellen Murphy lost the ball forward.

Leinster centre Michelle Claffey trucked the ball up and out-half Hannah Tyrrell kicked long.

The enterprise of left wing Katie Fitzhenry was complemented by straight running from number eight Paula Fitzpatrick to force a penalty.

Tyrrell went for touch only for the forwards to lose the lineout and concede a penalty at the scrum.

The next time Tyrrell tries the same strategy it worked out much better, setting a surging maul in motion.

The ball was moved left for Fitzhenry to knife through bodies for 10 metres. It came back right for Fitzpatrick to make ground and Jenny Murphy to finish the move.

The centre also converted for 7-0 in the 19th minute.

The smart passing of Leinster scrum-half Ailsa Hughes was a trigger for them and centre Murphy’s slick kick put them inside the Munster 22 again.

They came close to a second try when centre Michelle Claffey was held up over the line.

She wasn’t as merciful from the following scrum, the ball spun left for Claffey to burst over for Murphy to make it 14-0 in the 32nd minute.

Munster needed something to get moving and their openside Ciara Griffin hammered out a thumping tackle.

They needed more than that and ended the half on the up without looking close to scoring.

The next score would not only be crucial, but, probably, terminal if Munster did not eke it out.

The visitors earned a lineout deep inside the 22 only for Fitzpatrick to climb highest for a turnover.

When a second chance came around, centre Niamh Kavanagh cut through, fed full-back Edel Murphy for right wing Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird to touch down.

Full-back Murphy’s conversion to half the deficit to 14-7 in the 47th minute put the game right back in the melting pot. It was game on again.

Then, Leinster centre Murphy was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident.

It provided Munster with immediate energy and momentum. They struggled to keep the ball long enough to stress Leinster.

In response, prop Lindsay Peat tore up the middle and almost connected to openside Juliet Short.

It took all of Leinster wing Eimear Corri’s strength to hold out Eimear Considine along the touchline.

Increasingly, Peat was becoming a factor for the spark in her carrying and Munster replacement Zoe Grattage was binned on the end of Peat’s latest thrust.

When right wing Nic a Bhaird threatened down the right, the inexperienced Corri was patient and decisive in defence.

Eventually, Leinster found their way forward, Hughes speeding away down the left and Tyrrell make ground close to the fringes.

Munster’s Nic a Bhaird was lucky to escape a yellow card for batting down Hughes’ pass to Fitzhenry.

It didn’t matter as the penalty was put to touch, the lineout taken in and replacement Caoimhe Molloy on had to maul the try for Tyrrell’s conversion to make it 21-7 in the 71st minute.

Molloy got in under the Munster forwards to turn over a maul before the losers came again for prop Leah Lyons to claim the try, confirming the passing of the crown from red to blue.


15. Maria Kenny / Meaghan Kenny 60 mins
14. Eimear Corri / Niamh Byrne 76 mins
13. Jenny Murphy
12. Michelle Claffey
11. Katie Fitzhenry
10. Hannah Tyrrell
9. Ailsa Hughes /NiamhGriffin 71 mins
1. Lindsay Peat
2. Jennie Finlay / Caoimhe Molloy 46 mins
3. Joanna McMahon / Fiona O’Brien ht
4. Marie Louise O’Reilly
5. Susan Fogarty
6. Carmela Morey CAPTAIN
7. Juliet Short
8. Paula Fitzpatrick


15. Edel Murphy / Laura Sheehan 78 mins
14. Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird
13. Niamh Kavanagh
12. Nicola Scully
11. Eimear Considine
10. Claire Keohane
9. Ellen Murphy
1. Fiona Reidy
2. Gill Bourke / Zoe Grattage 56 mins
3. Leah Lyons / Fiona Hayes ht
4. Orlaith Buckley / Elaine Anthony 60 mins
5. Anna Caplice
6. Siobhan Fleming
7. Ciara Griffin
8. Heather O’Brien

Referee: D Carson, IRFU.