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Ireland got their Six Nations campaign back underway on Saturday evening with a hard-fought victory over Italy in Donnybrook.

Adam Griggs named a strong side earlier in the week, with Claire Molloy returning to the starting line up, and handing Dorothy Wall her first start.

The last time that these two teams met, Italy were able to stun Ireland with a 29-27 victory in Parma.

Ireland absorbed a lot of pressure in the opening ten minutes of the match, with Italy getting close to the Irish line a number of times.

The pressure eventually turned into points after 15 minutes, with Melissa Bettoni finally able to cross the whitewash for Italy.

Michela Sillari added the conversion for the visitors, taking them out to a seven-point lead in the opening quarter.

After absorbing the early pressure, Ireland were finally able to get into the Italian half. The girls in green came close to getting one back a little over 20 minutes into the match, as Beibhinn Parsons was tackled 10 metres short in her first run.

Béibhinn Parsons of Ireland during the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at Energia Park in Dublin. Due to current restrictions laid down by the Irish government to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to adhere to social distancing regulations, all sports events in Ireland are currently held behind closed doors. Béibhinn Parsons of Ireland during the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at Energia Park in Dublin. Due to current restrictions laid down by the Irish government to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to adhere to social distancing regulations, all sports events in Ireland are currently held behind closed doors. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland became their own worst enemies with half an hour played, as whenever they built up pressure on the Italian defence, they gave up possession through unnecessary errors.

The hosts were finally able to equalise, through the experienced Lindsay Peat. The Irish gave up a near-certain three points to set up a lineout maul on the 5m.

Peat eventually got the ball just 2 metres out and forced her way over the line. Hannah Tyrrell added the extra points to level the scores with just three minutes left of the first half.

Their first try seemed to awaken the Irish, as they began to dominate both possession and territory for the closing minutes of the first half.

The hosts got the final say in the first half with a try for Claire Molloy on the stroke of half time. Tyrrell added the extras and Ireland headed into the sheds with a seven point lead.

Ciara Griffin of Ireland makes a break during the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at Energia Park in Dublin. Due to current restrictions laid down by the Irish government to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to adhere to social distancing regulations, all sports events in Ireland are currently held behind closed doors. Ciara Griffin of Ireland makes a break during the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at Energia Park in Dublin. Due to current restrictions laid down by the Irish government to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to adhere to social distancing regulations, all sports events in Ireland are currently held behind closed doors. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Both teams were feeling one another out again in the opening ten minutes of the second half, with neither side able to get the upper hand.

Ireland were finding their late first half form yet again after 15 minutes in the half, however the mistakes kept creeping in and the hosts were unable to finish their numerous chances.

With over an hour gone, Ireland were able to keep play inside the Italian half. Despite the pressure, though, they were not able to convert position into points as the Italian defence held their nerve.

The girls in green finally managed to get on the score sheet again with ten minutes left in the match.

Ciara Griffin was denied a try through the TMO, after Kathryn Dane blocked the defensive efforts of Sofia Stefan.

Despite this, Ireland were awarded a penalty try for illegal scrummaging in the lead up to the denied try.

Italy looked to get back into the match in the final ten minutes, however the Irish were able to keep them out with an improved scrumming performance and dogged defence.

With the win in the bag as the clocked went red, Ireland put the ball into the stands to confirm their 21-7 victory.

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