Irish beat Scots to take third and make World Cup

Meryl Smith and Edel McMahon
Scotland's Meryl Smith is tackled by Ireland co-captain Edel McMahon [Getty]

Women's Six Nations 2024: Ireland v Scotland

Ireland (0) 15

Tries: Corrigan, Moloney Cons: O'Brien Pens: O'Brien

Scotland (5) 12

Tries: Martin, Thompson Cons: Nelson

Ireland edged out Scotland 15-12 in a closely contested game in Belfast to finish third in the Women's Six Nations and qualify for the 2025 World Cup.

An Elis Martin try had Scotland 5-0 ahead at the break but Katie Corrigan's score drew the Irish level.

Lisa Thomson crossed for a converted try but Dannah O'Brien added the extras to Cliodhna Moloney's touchdown to restore parity.

O'Brien's late penalty proved decisive as Ireland ensured progression to next year's tournament in England after missing out on the last World Cup.

The Irish will also take their place in WXV1 after their second victory of the campaign helped them climb one point ahead of Scotland in the table.

Scots hold five-point lead at break

Ireland made a tentative start at Kingspan Stadium and Scotland hooker Martin rumbled over for the opening try in the eighth minute after the visiting pack executed a powerful rolling maul close to the Irish line.

Helen Nelson was off target with her conversion attempt.

There was a lengthy stoppage as Scottish scrum-half Caity Mattinson received treatment before being stretchered off the field and subsequently the hosts started to enjoy more territory and possession.

They looked likely to be rewarded for their enterprise as Neve Jones was set to barge over the whitewash from a maul but a heroic defensive effort from the visitors saw her held up.

Ireland passed up opportunities to kick for the posts following Scotland infringements but when they opted to go for the corner their line-out was found wanting and they were unable to build an attacking platform, going in five points adrift at the interval.

Irish battle back

The home side began the second half in the best way possible as just over a minute after the restart wing Corrigan showed good pace to dive over in the right corner after accepting an off-load from Brittany Hogan.

Fly-half O'Brien, who set up the score with an intelligent cross-field kick, was unable to add the extras from the tee.

Scotland then applied pressure and moved ahead again in the 52nd minute when inside centre Thomson picked a great line to break through the Ireland defensive set-up and score just to the side of the posts.

Nelson kicked the additional two points to put seven between the sides.

Shortly before the hour mark Scott Bemand's side drew level again when replacement hooker Moloney burrowed over from a maul after Ireland were more accurate with their line-out and O'Brien converted.

Flanker Aoife Wafer then made a line break into the Scottish half off the back of a line-out and offloaded to Moloney but her progress was halted when she was hauled down just a few metres short.

O'Brien coolly slotted over a penalty after their opponents were penalised for not rolling away as Ireland led by three with six minutes left and despite having Beibhinn Parsons yellow-carded in the dying moments they held on to win.


Ireland: Deely; Corrigan, Higgins, Breen, Parsons; O'Brien, Reilly; Djougang, Jones, Haney; Wall, Monaghan (co-capt); Wafer, McMahon (co-capt), Hogan.

Replacements: Moloney, O'Dowd, McGrath, Tuite, Ikahihifo, Scuffil-McCabe, Dalton, Heffernan

Scotland: Smith, Grant, Orr, Thomson, McGhie, Nelson, Mattinson; Bartlett, Martin, Belisle, Wassell, McMillan, Malcolm (capt), Stewart, Gallagher.

Replacements: Wright, Cockburn, Clarke, Donaldson, McLachlan, McDonald, Bell, Flynn.