Arklow win action-packed Paul Cusack Plate Final
April 27, 2017 4:00 am Site Editor
Arklow Amazons made the short trip up the M11 to face a fancied Trinity side in the final of the Paul Cusack plate on a magnificent pitch at Leinster headquarters in Donnybrook on Saturday.
Trinity kicked off and immediately went on the attack.
Out-half Charlotte Bowen got her back line straight into action but the Arklow defence kept them out with some great tackling by Emer Cullen and Stephanie Nicholson.
Off turnover ball Arklow went on the offensive and after several pick-and-goes, Claire Nicholson went over for the first score on eight minutes, converted by Kiri McLoughlin.
Arklow were growing in confidence but Trinity’s Kayla Young and Niamh Ryan put in some great defensive tackles.
Some wonderful handling by Arklow backs Emer Cullen and sisters Emma and Rachael Flood and relentless pressure by the forwards resulted in a try by captain Samantha Byrne, making it 12-0.
Arklow found it hard to deal with Player of the Match Niamh O’Kelly Lynch who was a treat with ball in hand.
A cleverly taken quick penalty by Louise Catinot close to the line gave Trinity a great chance but the Arklow defence was set and the opportunity was lost.
Arklow were on the offensive again as some of the sharpest passing and handling of the season brought them quickly to the Trinity line again, resulting in a try by Lorraine Dunne, converted by McLoughlin, making it 19-0 at the break.
Trinity made the better start to the second half and were rewarded with a try by Niamh O’Kelly Lynch after some confident handling by Ciara Grogan and Molly Byrne.
The dominance of the Arklow pack kept the Wicklow side in control of the game, however, with drives by Sally Ann Hudson, Lauren Messitt and Samantha Byrne.
An important lineout steal by Dianne Hunt Byrne and some hard-hitting tackles by Wioletta Godkin and Rachael Cooney left little doubt about the final result. Another Arklow try by Claire Nicholson brought the score to 24-5.
A great break through the centre by O’Kelly Lynch and Grace Quinlivan gave Trinity a converted try to make it 24-12.
There was still time for a late searing break again by O’Kelly Lynch from behind the Trinity 22.
The ball came within four metres of the Arklow line before the attack was stopped by Lauren Messitt.
The offload to Trinity’s Molly Boyne was defended well by Danielle Kavanagh and Louise Murphy and the threat snuffed out before the final whistle sounded.
At Donnybrook: Arklow 24 Dublin University 12, Bank of Ireland Paul Cusack Plate Final, Saturday, April 22