Balbriggan complete unbeaten campaign with Bank of Ireland Paul Cusack Cup Final victory
May 8, 2018 12:53 pm Site Editor
The Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Paul Cusack Cup Final took place last Wednesday in Clondalkin RFC with an exciting final between Balbriggan RFC and Portlaoise RFC.
It was third time lucky as the Balbriggan ladies eventually got their hands on the Paul Cusack Cup. Having lost to Gorey on their two previous attempts, the Balbriggan girls will have a lot of sympathy for the Portlaoise girls who pushed them all the way in a very tough encounter.
Portlaoise had beaten a quality Navan side in the semi-final just three days previously (26-5) so the Balbriggan girls knew that they were in for a tough game, given that they had only scraped past Navan in the League final.
Having one final under their belt, the Balbriggan girls were more relaxed in this game and this showed in the fluidity of their play.
Balbriggan opened the scoring with a try from Karen Heffernan with some good work from the pack. After converting the opening try, out-half Dearbhla Sheridan then scored after breaking a number of tackles to touch down.
Balbriggan then lost their winger Joanne Moore to an ankle injury meaning they had to reorganise their back line. Portlaoise were able to exploit this when their swift-footed full-back scorched up the wing to score cutting Balbriggan’s lead to 12-5 at the break.
Portlaoise hit back hard at the start of the second half and didn’t let Balbriggan get into their stride.
Good play by their forwards was rewarded by a number of penalties which took them into Balbriggan territory, allowing them to level the game with a converted try.
The match ebbed and flowed with both sides defending well. Again it was Sheridan making the critical breaks and, eventually, she split the defence after a couple of dummy passes allowed her dive over at the corner flag for what would be the winning points.
Portlaoise were not giving up easy and threw everything at the girls in green. Siobhan Verdon scored the winning points in the league final but on the day it was her tackling that kept Balbriggan in the game. Time and time again she stopped the Portlaoise attack dead in its tracks.
After about seven minutes of extra-time, the full-time whistle went and the Balbriggan girls completed a remarkable 19-0 season.
Balbriggan RFC: Kelly Morgan, Jeanne Moore, Michelle Hutcheson, Siobhain Verdon,Valerie VanVeen, Dearbhla Sheridan, Rachael Mulligan, Karen Heffernan, Stephanie Campbell, Therese Tormey, Davina Doran, Tracey McFadden, Eadaoine Cannon, Anne O’Brien, Olivia Devine, Lisa Kelly, Holly Keogh, Laura Hamilton, Catherine Livesey, Leanne Whyte, Lynn Malone, Ruth Dunne.
Portlaoise RFC: Emma Brophy, Shannon Dunne, Alison Holmes, Sarah Murphy, Gemma Palmer, Louise Cody, Shauna Carroll, Yvonne Palmer, Diane Lawlor, Rosie Palmer, Marianne Jordan, Sarah Culliton, Steph Gleeson, Tina Wright, Claire O’Connell, Orla Franks, Nicola Larkin, Laura O’Brien, Katie Donnelly, Rachel Palmer.