The slate of last year had been wiped clean, and for so long it looked like it would be a dream start for this new Irish era.

Beneath beautiful sunshine and in front of a record attendance for an Ireland women's international of 6,113, Ireland led for so long before the Welsh power eventually told, as they silenced the RDS to claim a 27-19 win in the TikTik Women's Six Nations opener.

If there is hope for Ireland going forward, it's in their opponents.

Wales were a shell of a team when the sides met in the 2021 Six Nations, but were controlled, powerful and effective, particularly at the scrum and lineout.

And although they only took the lead inside the final six minutes, they were deserving of their victory against an inexperienced Irish side, but one that showed plenty of promise.

Tries for Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Linda Djougang and Stacey Flood had Ireland leading throughout, 14-5 in front at half time, and 19-10 through three quarters.

But they were leading through a clinical attack, having soaked enormous Welsh pressure for much of the game, during which they conceded 16 penalties.

Eventually that pressure proved too much, two late tries for substitute Donna Rose put the Welsh in front, before Hannah Jones scored a late breakaway as Ireland chased the game.

Wales dominated possession in the opening quarter, carrying hard at the Irish line, but their aggression was matched by Ireland's defence.

Neve Jones would have been a woman under some degree of pressure, starting at hooker in place of the dropped veteran Cliodhna Moloney, but twice in the opening minutes she met Welsh carries with ferocious tackles, the second of which forced an Irish turnover.

Djougang, Dorothy Wall and Flood all contributed dominant tackles in the opening 15 minutes, before Ireland hit against the run of play on 17 minutes.

Wales failed to find to find touch with a penalty in their own half, and Ireland ran it right back, with Eimear Considine and Eve Higgins getting them back up to the Welsh 22.

Ireland moved from one touchline to the other and it sucked in the Welsh defence, creating an overlap on the right wing. The hosts moved the ball fast, with Lucy Mulhall passing to Flood, before the centre threw a looping pass out to Murphy Crowe on the right wing.

The sevens star accelerated around the corner of the Welsh defence, and sprinted clear from the edge of the 22 to dive over in the corner, with Nicole Cronin's excellent conversion from wide on the right sent Ireland 7-0 in front.

Wales responded well to the concession, and after forcing Ireland into multiple penalties they found their way back into the game.

With Ireland on a warning from referee Kat Roche, the Welsh kicked to the corner, and a simple lineout maul saw hooker Carys Phillips touch down, the unconverted try cutting Ireland's lead to 7-5 on 26 minutes.

By now the game had completely opened up, and both sides were playing to the weather conditions, spreading play and running the ball, and it led to a stunning second Irish try on 29 minutes.

Having won back possession off the restart following the Welsh score, Ireland moved through several phases, before Mulhall and Wall both earned valuable yards near the left touchline to bring them up to the Welsh 22.

The score was created by Irish second row Sam Monaghan, the Wasps lock getting over the gainline before throwing an incredible offload as she was falling to the ground.

Charging onto it was Djougang, and the Clermont prop was never going to be stopped from 10 metres out, running through for her third Six Nations try, giving Cronin the easiest of conversions to make it 14-5, an advantage Ireland saw out until the break.

As the did in the first half, Wales had the better of the early exchanges after the break.

Twice, Irish out-half Cronin failed to get any length on her exit kicks, and it was only a matter of time before Wales punished them.

Having moved through a series of phases in the 22, Wales created an overlap on the right wing which left Considine scrambling in defence, as Jasmine Joyce found just enough room to dive over the the second Welsh score in the 48th minute.

For the second time, Elinor Snowsill was off target with the conversion, leaving Ireland four points in front, 14-10.

Ioan Cunningham's side were starting to dominate, aided by a powerful scrum, and they almost scored another try on 50 minutes.

Having kicked a penalty to the corner they once again put their maul to work, and while it initially took a last ditch effort from Ireland scrum-half Aoibheann Reilly to hold up the potential try, a check with the TMO discovered some Welsh obstruction, and chance for Ireland to briefly clear their lines.

It was beginning to look concerning for Ireland, until Wales handed them a gift on 55 minutes

After an excellent clearance kick from Flood, Wales tried to take a quick lineout, but Kayleigh Powell's poor pass went straight to Considine.

It gave Ireland their first real moment of possession and territory in the third quarter, with Djougang's strong carry securing gainline success.

They put width on the ball, passing left to Considine on the wing, and the full-back slipped a further pass back inside to the onrushing Flood, who finished out the try to make it 19-10.

It was a buffer Ireland badly needed, because the Welsh power and physicality was growing along with the game.

And they hit back with a try on 65 minutes, once again from a close range maul, this time replacement prop Rose applying the finishing touches.

However, their kicking again let them down, missing their third conversion from three. It left Ireland four in front, 19-15, but Greg McWilliams' side were just about keeping their heads above water.

With nine minutes left they were hot with a further blow, Considine sin-binned after failing to roll away from the tackle area, and when Wales kicked the resulting penalty to the corner, another Wales try felt inevitable.

The visitors pounded at the Irish tryline relentlessly, before they got the score their second half dominance deserved, tighthead Rose scoring her second, this time under the posts, giving Robyn Wilkins a simple conversion to put Wales in front by three at 22-19.

Ireland were left chasing the game, and after a forward pass by Cronin their race was run, only for the visitors to break down the right touchline to complete a well-earned win, Hannah Jones' try in the corner sealing a 27-19 victory.

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Ireland: Eimear Considine; Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall; Nicole Cronin, Aoibheann Reilly; Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Katie O'Dwyer, Nichola Fryday (capt), Sam Monaghan; Dorothy Wall, Edel McMahon, Brittany Hogan

Replacements: Emma Hooban, Chloe Pearse, Christy Hanley, Anna McGann, Hannah O'Connor, Kathryn Dane, Enya Breen, Beibhinn Parsons

Wales: Kayleigh Powell; Lisa Neuman, Hannah Jones, Kerin Lake, Jasmine Joyce; Elinor Snowsill, Keira Bevan; Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Cerys Hale; Natalia John, Gwen Crabb; Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Siwan Lillicrap (capt)

Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Cara Hope, Donna Rose, Sioned Harries, Bethan Lewis, Ffion Lewis, Robyn Wilkins, Sisilia Tuipulotu