Ireland started off their TikTok Six Nations campaign with a home encounter against the newly semi-professional Welsh side in the RDS on Saturday.
Head coach Greg McWilliams named a young side for the clash which saw the star of last year's Six Nations Beibhinn Parsons on the bench.
It was one of Parsons' sevens teammates, though, who scored the opener for Ireland, as Aimee Leigh Murphy-Crowe crossed over in the corner in the first half.
While the Irish continued to absorb pressure from the visitors, they eventually cracked and let slip a maul try to Carys Phillips from five meters out.
However, Ireland bounced right back as they worked their way deep into Welsh territory with a line break up the centre of the field before an offload to Linda Djougang saw the prop run over under the posts. The y held on to the 14-5 lead until half time.
The Welsh were all over the hosts in the start of the second half. They piled on the pressure and eventually broke through out side through sevens flier Jasmine Joyce.
While Wales almost took the lead for the first time shortly after, the try was ruled out by the TMO, and Ireland were able to extend their lead shortly afterwards instead.
The extended lead came off the back of an error in a quick lineout from Wales, which found it's way into the hands of Eimear Considine, who broke free and offloaded to Stacey Flood for the score.
It would be heartbreak for the hosts, however as with just the four-point lead in the final 10 minutes, Considine was yellow-carded, and Wales took the opportunity to score the go-ahead try through a Donna Rose brace.
Hannah Jones secured the victory for the visitors with a last minute try to flatter the Welsh with a 27-19 victory.
Ireland player ratings
Linda Djougang 8/10
Packing down against a strong Welsh scrum, Djougang and the rest of the Irish front row not only held their own but earned some rewards for their efforts. The 25-year-old Leinsterwoman also showed what she can do over the ball, winning a few turnovers in the first half.
She carried well, and ran excellent support lines whenever a teammate made a break, which ultimately led to her scoring a great try under the posts.
Neve Jones 7/10
The Irish hooker has made the most of a rare start and looked full of energy throughout her time on the park. She absorbed a good amount of the Welsh pressure on defence, and took control of the breakdown on attack.
Katie O'Dwyer 7/10
While she was slightly upstaged by he teammate on the opposite side of the scrum, it was a strong hit-out for O'Dwyer. She held her own at the set piece for the majority of the match, only creaking near the end of her time on the pitch to the more powerful Welsh front row. It was not an outstanding match for the 30-year-old, however it was far from a bad or even average performance.
Nichola Fryday 8/10
With all of the pressure on her in her first appearance as captain, Fryday was outstanding, leading from the front and allowing the experienced heads around her to support her in leadership as well. She was a pillar in the set piece, and even slowed the dominant Welsh maul a number of times, including in their ruled-out try attempt.
Sam Monaghan 7.5/10
The towering figure in the Irish lineout, Monaghan was superb at the set piece under increasing pressure from the visitors. She made some strong carries which netted her side decent meters, and was superb in at the breakdown for much of the game.
Dorothy Wall 7/10
The young flanker had a number of strong carries early on in the match, and was an excellent link player for her electric backline. She made more of an impact defensively though, as she maintained an 87% tackle success rate, and was crucial to keeping the Welsh out for much of the game.
Edel McMahon 7/10
Nobody in a green jersey made more tackles that McMahon. While the 30-year-old was not a prolific carrier, her work rate on defence was a major part of why Ireland lead for 67 minutes.
Brittany Hogan 7/10
The 23-year-old Irish loose forward was heavily involved in the 'donkey work' throughout the game, as she was a brutal defender and nuisance at the breakdown. Hogan always looked for the turnover, and if it wasn't on she managed to slow down the pace of the Welsh attacking rucks to help set the defence. She also managed to make a decent number of strong carries.
Aoibheann Reilly 7.5/10
On her XVs debut, the 22-year-old halfback looked to speed up the game at every breakdown. She managed the pace of the game well., even when the Irish breakdown started to lose some control. Her passing and link play was outstanding, and she even maintained a solid base in defence behind the breakdown.
Nicole Cronin 7.5/10
While Ireland are still in search if a full-time starting number 10, Cronin made a strong claim to hold on to the starting outhalf jersey with an excellent performance for most of the match. She switched things up well with Flood outside her, and managed the game to great effect. However, when Ireland went behind late in the game, she began to panic slightly, and made a few errors which ultimately cost her side good possession.
Lucy Mulhall 7/10
While she did not have the same headline-making performance as her teammate on the opposite wing, Mulhall repaid the faith that McWilliams had in her with a solid performance out wide. She made a good number of meters with ball in hand and was excellent under the high ball. However, she was sat down a few times on defence.
Stacey Flood 8/10
While she was in the outhalf position for most of the Six Nations campaign last year, Flood proved that she can run the backline as the second playmaker in the difficult 12 channel. She defended well, always looking for something to do.
She scored an excellent try from a breakaway by Considine.
Eve Higgins 8.5/10
After her stellar start to the 2022 Sevens season, Higgins brought her intelligent running lines and powerful carries to the Irish midfield. She opened up the field to allow Murphy-Crowe to run in for the first score of the game, and created a number of opportunities elsewhere.
Aimee Leigh Murphy-Crowe 7.5/10
The sevens flier wasted little time showing that she is not only a try scoring machine on the world series as she capitalised on the Irish attacking threat to score the first try of the game in spectacular fashion. She was exciting with ball in hand throughout, and managed to put in a few big hits on the wing too.
Eimear Considine 7/10
The most experienced player in the starting line-up, Considine was safe as houses at the back, however she could have done with getting more meters on her kick returns and clearances. She did win a number of turnovers, one of which was deep within her own 22m area and stopped a near-certain try-scoring opportunity.
Her only major errors were a dropped up-and-under in the 67th minute and giving away a yellow card with less than eight minutes left to play, which gave Wales an opportunity to score when they were only four points behind.
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