Ireland got the defence of their Women’s Six Nations crown off to a perfect start with a 59-0 demolition of Scotland in Ashbourne.
It was a completely dominant performance by Ireland against a young Scottish side who were simply outclassed in every aspect of the game.
Ireland were totally in control in every phase of play as they dominated the scrum and lineout and were in total control at the breakdown.
One standout aspect for coach Philip Doyle was the tackling as Scottish runners were constantly put under pressure by ferocious Irish tackling, which led to several turnovers.
Ireland opened their account after four minutes when they opted to kick for the corner from a penalty. A clever move at the front of the lineout led to lock Sophie Spence going over in the corner.
Six minutes later, they were in again after a great backline move led to a period of sustained pressure on the Scottish line and winger Alison Miller eventually crashed over near the posts following a scrum. Nora Stapleton was on target with the conversion and it was beginning to look ominous for the Scots.
Indeed, there were four more tries for the Irish in the first half with Heather O’Brien, Lynne Cantwell, Spence and Miller all going over.
Miller’s second try was a thing of beauty as she broke from inside her own half, outpaced the Scottish cover, fended off the fullback and touched down in the corner.
Scotland were glad to hear the half-time whistle as Ireland led 32-0 at the break.
It was a similar story when play resumed and the scoreboard operator was busy again in the 47th minute as Spence crashed over for her hat-trick.
Ailis Egan added the eighth try and hooker Stacey-Lea Kennedy was next to score following a fantastic break by Claire Molloy as Ireland kept their foot on the gas.
Jenny Murphy, who took over kicking duties from Stapleton for the second half, nailed a fantastic conversion following Kennedy’s try.
Philip Doyle emptied his bench midway through the half but it did not weaken the Irish effort in any way.
Cantwell, Ireland’s most capped player, made it ten tries for the home side with 16 minutes left to play.
The Scottish, however, never gave up and for the first time in the contest managed to pin the Irish back in their own 22 for a ten-minute period.
Ireland’s defending was tested on several occasions but was up to the task and they managed to repel the repeated Scottish attacks.
With time up Ireland forced their way out of their own half and Claire Molloy got over for a well deserved try, Ireland’s eleventh, following a fantastic personal display.
It was a record-breaking win for Ireland, and a night to remember for new caps Hannah Casey, Fiona Hayes and Kerrie-Ann Craddock.
Coach Philip Doyle will be pleased with the night’s work, with the only negative being only two successful kicks at goal from eleven attempts. He will also be aware that bigger tests lie ahead, beginning with the visit of Wales to Ashbourne next Friday night.