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Ireland Women get Six Nations campaign up and running

By PA
Lucy Mulhall of Ireland with supporters after the Tik Tok Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at Musgrave Park in Cork. (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland Women kick-started their Six Nations campaign with a comfortable 29-8 victory over Italy in Cork.

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Greg McWilliams’ side, who led 10-3 at half-time, scored four tries at Musgrave Park through Lucy Mulhall, Neve Jones, Eve Higgins and replacement Katie O’Dwyer and were awarded a second-half penalty try.

Hooker Melissa Bettoni went over for Italy’s late consolation try, but Ireland’s first win after defeats to Wales and France was never in doubt.

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Beatrice Rigoni’s penalty gave Italy an early lead, but Ireland ran in an outstanding try in the 25th minute, with fly-half Nicole Cronin delivering the final pass out wide for full-back Mulhall to score.

Ireland went over for a deserved second try before the interval through hooker Jones and although both tries went unconverted, the Irish made a flying start to the second half.

Centre Higgins gathered scrum-half Kathryn Dane’s kick ahead to race over and Cronin converted to put the home side 17-3 ahead.

Ireland moved further ahead when awarded a penalty try in the 52nd minute as Italy were penalised at a five-metre scrum and after Bettoni went over for the visitors, O’Dwyer gathered from a line-out to score the game’s final try.

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