Rugby

Player Of The Match Performance From Pearse Pushes Munster To Prominent Belfast Win

Ulster- 5

Munster- 50

Prop Chloe Pearse starred with three tries in a player-of-the-match performance, while there were debut scores for Muirne Wall, Chisom Ugwueru and replacement Aoife Moore in this opening Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship match.

Captain Beth Cregan’s 31st-minute effort was the lone response for Ulster, who trailed 26-5 at the break despite some promising runs from centre Fiona Tuite.

Munster second row Siobhán McCarthy also got amongst the first half tries, with the best of them coming from Kerry’s whippet-like scrum half Wall who scorched 65 metres downfield from her own tap penalty.

Matt Brown’s side broke the half-century barrier in the end, as Ulster, who lost Cregan to a 58th-minute yellow card, conceded eight tries in the end – including newcomer Moore’s muscular 78th-minute closer.

Brown’s first game in charge of Munster got off to a dream start. Just two minutes and 16 seconds in, Pearse picked off the deck to crash over. Nicole Cronin, who finished with 11 points, supplied a well-struck conversion from the right.

Munster’s crisp attacking was rewarded again in the 18th minute, their captain Sarah Quin brought down short before McCarthy was able to muscle over, with Edel Murphy on the latch.

Despite losing winger Laura O’Mahony to injury, the visitors continued to threaten and Wall blazed through from her quickly-taken penalty – just outside the Munster 10-metre line – with Jemma Farrell burned off in pursuit.

Cronin’s conversion made it 19-0, giving Ulster a huge mountain to climb. A powerful 26th-minute lineout drive showed what they could do, although some of their best first half work was undone by costly penalties.

They did get on the scoreboard when Tuite’s defence-splitting run, and then another carry closer in, led to Cregan’s successful dummy and lunge for the try-line.

However, Munster made sure to have the final say before the break. Some nice passing from Wall, Cronin and Stephanie Nunan had Ennis’ Ugwueru beating the final defender near the left touchline.

Cronin fired over a fine conversion for good measure, and the tries kept coming for the Quin-led Reds in the second period.

Only 39 seconds had elapsed when Pearse completed her brace, following up on Murphy’s initial break from her own half and Allen’s support line.

The sidestepping Nunan created the space for a determined Cronin to squeeze over by the left corner flag in the 53rd minute. The out-half was unable to convert her own try.

Cregan was guilty of not rolling away on the hour mark, earning 10 minutes in the sin bin, but Ulster showed plenty of resolve in he absence.

Indeed, the home bench was making a solid impact, with young Fern Wilson showing her pace out wide in both attack and defence.

Despite some encouraging signs from Neill Alcorn’s charges, Ulster could not prevent Munster from returning to their clinical form during the closing stages.

A rip in the tackle by Allen saw Munster move the ball wide for replacement Maggie Boylan to fly down the right wing. Some quick recycling followed and Pearse went over unopposed from a ruck.

In Cronin’s absence, Allen chipped over the conversion and also added the extras to the victors’ final try. The freshly-introduced Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird wormed her way through before Pearse helped Moore to smash her way over beside the posts.

TIME LINE: 3 minutes – Munster try: Chloe Pearse – 0-5; conversion: Nicole Cronin – 0-7; 18 mins – Munster try: Siobhán McCarthy – 0-12; conversion: missed by Nicole Cronin – 0-12; 23 mins – Munster try: Muirne Wall – 0-17; conversion: Nicole Cronin – 0-19; 31 mins – Ulster try: Beth Cregan – 5-19; conversion: missed by Jemma Farrell – 5-19; 38 mins – Munster try: Chisom Ugwueru – 5-24; conversion: Nicole Cronin – 5-26; Half-time – Ulster 5 Munster 26; 41 mins – Munster try: Chloe Pearse – 5-31; conversion: missed by Nicole Cronin – 5-31; 53 mins – Munster try: Nicole Cronin – 5-36; conversion: missed by Nicole Cronin – 5-36; 58 mins – Ulster yellow card: Beth Cregan; 70 mins – Munster try: Chloe Pearse – 5-41; conversion: Rachel Allen – 5-43; 78 mins – Munster try: Aoife Moore – 5-48; conversion: Rachel Allen – 5-50; Full-time – Ulster 5 Munster 50

 

ULSTER WOMEN: Dolores Hughes (Cooke RFC); Peita McAlister (Malone RFC), Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere RFC), Kelly McCormill (Cooke RFC), Emma Jordan (Malone RFC); Jemma Farrell (Old Belvedere RFC), Rachael McIlroy (Queen’s University Belfast RFC); Gemma McCamley (Cooke RFC), Beth Cregan (Cooke RFC) (capt), Aishling O’Connell (Cooke RFC), Hannah Beattie (Malone RFC), Keelin Brady (Railway Union RFC), Helen McGhee (Cooke RFC), India Daley (Cooke RFC), Stacey Sloan (City of Derry RFC).

Replacements: Ilse van Staden (Cooke RFC), Aoife Cahill (Queen’s University Belfast RFC), Ava Fannin (MU Barnhall RFC), Taryn Schutzler (Malone RFC), Lauren Maginnes (Malone RFC), Toni Macartney (Cooke RFC), Diane Ramsay (Queen’s University Belfast RFC), Fern Wilson (Malone RFC).

 

MUNSTER WOMEN: Aoife Corey (UL Bohemian RFC); Chisom Ugwueru (Ennis RFC), Stephanie Nunan (UL Bohemian RFC), Rachel Allen (UL Bohemian RFC), Laura O’Mahony (UL Bohemian RFC); Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC), Muirne Wall (Kerry Women); Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC), Edel Murphy (UL Bohemian RFC), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemian RFC), Aaliyah Te Pou (UL Bohemian RFC), Siobhán McCarthy (Railway Union RFC), Clodagh O’Halloran (UL Bohemian RFC), Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC), Sarah Quin (UL Bohemian RFC) (capt).

Replacements: Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (Old Belvedere RFC), Aoife Moore (Blackrock College RFC), Laura Delaney (UL Bohemian RFC), Christine Coffey (Blackrock College RFC), Eimear Minihane (Skibbereen RFC), Gemma Lane (Ballincollig RFC), Aoife O’Shaughnessy (Railway Union RFC), Maggie Boylan (Carrick-on-Suir RFC).

HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a media platform centred on bringing the latest Irish and international women’s sports news. Her Sport aims to empower women in sport, inspire more female participation, increase opportunity and level the playing field for future generations. Our objective is to create real and tangible change.

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