Women's Six Nations 2016: Ireland 14-3 Italy

Sene Naoupu makes ground for Ireland during their 14-3 win over Italy at Donnybrook
Sene Naoupu makes ground for Ireland during their 14-3 win over Italy at Donnybrook
Women's Six Nations
Ireland (7) 14
Tries: Peat, Fitzpatrick Cons: Briggs, Stapleton
Italy (3) 3
Pen: Sillari

Substitute Paula Fitzpatrick's second-half try gave Ireland women a hard-earned 14-3 win against a battling Italy at Donnybrook on Sunday.

Debutant prop Lindsay Peat scored a first-half touchdown, with Niamh Briggs converting, to give their side a 7-3 lead at the interval.

Nora Stapleton added the extras to Fitzpatrick's try to ensure victory.

After winning their opening game against Wales, Ireland had slipped to defeats by France and England.

Italy lost their opener 39-0 against France but a 33-24 defeat by England was followed by a 22-7 win over Scotland.

The Italians began brightly, full-back Manuela Furlan looking sharp in attack and the forwards excellent at the breakdown.

The visitors set up camp inside the Irish 22, but will be disappointed to have emerged with only three points thanks to a Michela Sillari penalty.

Ireland raised their game and struck back through Peat, the front-rower bundling over after superb defensive work from Ciara Cooney and a characteristically powerful Sene Naoupu carry.

Fitzpatrick then appeared from the bench to seal victory as she got on the end of a superb Irish maul, which bulldozed through the Italian pack just after the hour mark.

Ireland: Kim Flood; Liz Burke, Niamh Briggs, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller; Nikki Caughey, Mary Healy; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Ailis Egan; Elaine Anthony, Marie-Louise Reilly; Ciara Cooney, Ciara Griffin, Sophie Spence.

Replacements: Zoe Grattage, Ruth O'Reilly, Fiona Reidy, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick, Larissa Muldoon, Nora Stapleton, Claire McLaughlin.

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