A monster defensive effort by the Leinster Women was not rewarded in Ashbourne on Saturday as inaccuracy with the ball all but ended their hopes of retaining their interprovincial title.

The second half was split into two defensive stand-offs by Leinster and Munster, who had two players sent to the sin bin, and ultimately it was the team in red who just hung on at the death as the hosts laid siege to their line in the final 15 minutes.
The game begun in fractious fashion in a still heat, but as the conditions cooled the action on the pitch ensured that the mercury levels never dropped. 
Munster claimed the only score of the game on 19 minutes with a text-book line-out maul. Back row Ciara Griffin claimed the throw before Irish international Laura Guest touched down in the corner on the right-hand side leaving centre Ger Rea to convert from a tight angle.
However, Leinster had begun this game displaying a dangerous intent in attack with Ireland international full back Vikki McGinn, winger Janice Daly and centre Elise O’Bryne-White all making cutting runs.
The fringe attack, too, produced plenty of yards with back rows Jennie Finally and Sharon Lynch causing Munster trouble in the first half. 
Leinster produced two clear-cut chances in the opening period. First O’Brien made a break to bring play up to the halfway line and her offload released hooker Anne Marie Rooney on 13 minutes. The St Mary’s player burst towards the 22 but failed to supply Aofie Tyrrell on her right which stalled the attack before Munster earned a turnover penalty.
Then a few minutes before half-time good work by open side Jennie Finlay, who was soon sin binned for killing the ball at the ruck, allowed McGinn to try her luck with a chip and chase into the corner. The move failed to yield a try but referee Helen O’Brien called play back for a penalty, however, from the resulting line-out close to the line Leinster again turned over possession.

Leinster Women
With Finlay in the bin to start the second half Munster could smell blood in the water and began to batter the Leinster line for a period of 15 minutes. Despite the dual ball-carrying threats of Guest and Rea allowing Munster winger Deribhile Nic A Bhaird opportunities to run into space, the blue wall held strong and Leinster’s determination was summed up by Tyrrell’s last-gasp tackle which prevented a certain try. 
The tide then began to turn on the hour mark when a booming clearance from out-half Aine Donnelly brought Leinster down to their opponents’ 22. Soon after a line-out maul got trundling towards Munster’s line forcing Leah Lyons to illegally halt the move and her reward was a trip to the bin. 
From that point on Leinster ensured the ball didn’t leave Munster’s end of the field, but knock-ons and turnovers from crucial lineout positions scuppered their efforts to provide try-scoring opportunities for their attacking talent such as McGinn and Daly.
Despite another yellow card for Munster, this time it was replacement Leah Barbour, Leinster could not find the vital inches close to the line which would have produced an opportunity to tie the game.

15. Vikki McGinn (Blackrock College RFC)
14. Aoife Tyrrell (Blackrock College RFC)
13. Elise O’Byrne-White (Old Belvedere RFC)
12 .Claire Ryan (Railway Union RFC) replaced by Kim Flood (Railway Union RFC) 54 minutes
11. Janice Daly (Old Belvedere RFC)
10. Aine Donnelly (Cill Dara RFC)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Tullamore RFC) replaced by Meg Parkinson (Carlow RFC) 56 minutes
1. Ruth McElroy (Old Belvedere RFC)
2. Anne Marie Rooney (St. Mary’s College RFC) Capt replaced by Joanna Mahon (Co Carlow RFC) 60-74 minutes
3. Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere RFC) replaced by Aoife Maher (Railway Union RFC) 71 minutes
4. Ciara Cooney (Tullow RFC)
5. Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s College RFC)
6. Katie Norris (Blackrock College RFC)
7. Jennie Finlay (Navan RFC)
8. Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere RFC)
Yellow card for Leinster: Finlay

15. Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemian RFC)
14. Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (Highfield RFC)
13. Ger Rea (Highfield RFC)
12. Nicola Scully (Highfield RFC)
11. Ashling Hutchings (UL Bohemian RFC) replaced by Amy O’Callaghan (Highfield RFC) 54 minutes
10. Laura O’Mahony (Tralee RFC)
9. Mona Fehily (Highfield RFC)
1. Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemian RFC)
2. Amy Desmond (Highfield RFC)
3. Leah Lyons (Fermoy RFC) replaced by Leah Barbour (UL Bohemian RFC) 69 minutes
4. Maeve Darcy (UL Bohemian RFC) replaced by Gerda Coyne (Highfield RFC) 54 minutes
5. Elaine Anthony (Highfield RFC)
6. Roisin Ormond (Highfield RFC) replaced by Leah Barbour (UL Bohemian RFC) 59-69 minutes
7. Ciara Griffin (Tralee RFC)
8. Laura Guest (Highfield RFC) CAPTAIN

Scorers for Munster – Try: Guest. Con. Rea.

Yellow cards for Munster: Lyons, Barbour.
Referee: Helen O’Reilly (IRFU).