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Maeve Og O Leary played a key part in the opening try. Photograph by John Kelly

Clare players to fore for Munster in interpro trouncing of Ulster

There was no shortage of Clare representation on the Munster side that overcame Ulster 34-0 in the opening game of the Interprovincial Championship.

Former Ennis RFC player Aoife Corey started at full back as Kilkishen’s Clodagh O’Halloran packed down in the second row.

Ireland international Maeve Óg O’Leary started in the back row while former Shannon RFC player Aoife Doyle lined out on the wing. Doyle cut through the Ulster defence in the opening period to cross the whitewash.

Chloe Pearse, who also came through the ranks at Shannon, came off the bench as did Ennis’ Alana McInerney. Eilís Cahill made her senior Munster debut as she replaced fellow UL Bohemians club woman Fiona Reidy in the front row.

Munster got off to a great start as O’Leary claimed a lineout 5m from the Ulster line before a powerful maul effort saw Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird peel off the back and crash over the line. Nicole Cronin was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt.

The southern province continued to dominate as Corey was stopped just short of the try line. However, Stephanie Nunan was on hand to dot down in the corner. Another difficult conversion attempt just drifted wide for Cronin.

With 15 minutes on the clock, Munster grabbed their third try as Irish international Doyle produced a memorable sidestep to bewilder the Ulster defence as she accelerated through a gap to touch down close to the posts.

Unfortunately for Munster, Cronin’s conversion drifted wide of the target.

Munster secured the bonus-point with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half. A line break from Maeve Óg O’Leary saw the flanker tackled just short of the line but Claire Bennett was on hand to crash over from close range.

Cronin succeeded with her difficult conversion attempt to give Munster a 22-0 lead heading into the half-time break.

Niamh Briggs’ side got their fifth try midway through the second half when Claire Bennett touched down off the back of a powerful rolling maul from the women in red.

Munster’s sixth try came with the clock in the red when Nic a Bhaird evaded a weary Ulster defence tackles to cross. Kate Flannery’s successful conversion was the last act of the game as Munster look forward to welcoming Leinster to Musgrave Park this Saturday.

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