/ Six Nations 2014

Ireland Women 36-0 Wales Women

Updated: Sunday, 04 Mar 2012 11:20

Sophie Spence, Niamh Briggs, Lynne Cantwell and Claire Molloy celebrate one of Ireland's six tries against Wales
Sophie Spence, Niamh Briggs, Lynne Cantwell and Claire Molloy celebrate one of Ireland's six tries against Wales

The Ireland Women tore Wales apart with a stylish six-try blitz at Ashbourne RFC, comfortably making it back-to-back wins in the Women's RBS 6 Nations.

Tries from Joy Neville, Sophie Spence, Niamh Kavanagh, Alison Miller, Gillian Bourke and Ashleigh Baxter did the damage for the girls in green, who are now two points behind leaders England with two rounds remaining.

Third-placed Ireland host Scotland in Ashbourne next Friday before making the trip to London for a St. Patrick's Day finale against England.

This was a hugely encouraging performance from Philip Doyle's side, with the defence watertight and their impressive finishing skills on full show again.

Wales had to make do without their captain Rachel Taylor, who failed in her bid to have a citing charge overturned from last weekend's defeat to England.

Lisa Newton took over in the visitors' back row, while a late injury for Paula Fitzpatrick saw Ulster's Stacey-Lea Kennedy added to the Ireland bench.

In sunny but cold conditions, Ireland got off to a promising start with talented number eight Neville touching down in the ninth minute, getting on the end of a terrific maul.

Niamh Briggs failed to convert and in a lively start, Wales' Laura Prosser also slid a penalty attempt wide of the target.

Playing with the wind, Wales enjoyed a period of dominance around the midpoint of the half and a yellow card for centre Grace Davitt left Ireland shorthanded.

It took a series of strong tackles to keep their try-line intact, but their quality in attack soon shone through as Spence and the elusive Kavanagh helped themselves to tries.

Second-row Spence, in only her third appearance at this level, caught the Wales defence off guard to run in a rousing try which Briggs converted from in front of the posts.

Even better followed for the enthusiastic home crowd as flanker Claire Molloy made a superb break to tee up Kavanagh's third try in two games.

The UL Bohemians clubwoman is in the form of her life and although Briggs' conversion attempt fell short, Ireland's tails were most definitely up at 17-0.

Into the second half, the now wind-backed Irish made further inroads. A loose pass spoilt a Wales attack and the razor sharp Miller gobbled up the ball to dart over for Ireland's fourth try of the afternoon.

It was a deserved score for the Laois flyer, who has been a constant threat in this year's Championship with ball in hand. She also dotted down in the abandoned game against Wales last month.

With 55 minutes on the clock, hooker Bourke crashed over with Wales unable to halt another well-orchestrated Irish maul. Briggs' conversion attempt came back off the woodwork.

Larissa Muldoon and Jennifer Murphy enjoyed run-outs as replacements with the hosts maintaining a firm grasp on proceedings.

Wales simply had no answers to Ireland's strength and speed in possession. Full-back Baxter, who had a try ruled out against Italy, got over for a well-merited score in the corner with Briggs adding the extras from out wide.

Replacement Heather O'Brien received a yellow card shortly after her introduction, but there was no consolation score for the well-beaten Wales.

Ireland were left to celebrate their biggest ever victory over Wales at this level, eclipsing the previous record which had stood since March 1996 (22-6).