Leinster’s U18 girls maintained their unbeaten record in the interprovincial development blitz for a second year when they held Ulster to a scoreless draw in the final match of the series in Westmanstown.

Despite a nervous start, the Leinster girls dominated play in the opening 10 minutes, almost crossing the Ulster try line following tremendous work from Portlaoise RFC trio, captain Emma Hooban, winger Eimear Corri and full back Louise Scully.

Ulster withstood the pressure and applied some of their own with a number of scrums near the Leinster line. However, great defending by the Leinster girls, including a marvellous tackle by Westmanstown RFC’s Jenny Bowler, saw the ball cleared and the score remained 0-0 as the half time whistle blew.

The rain arrived as the second half got under way with Leinster again making a strong start with a great run by Hannah Rose Buckley of Naas RFC – the scorer of two fantastic tries against Connacht in the opening round.

Captain Emma Hooban led by example, working tirelessly around the pitch and putting in a huge number of tackles as the Leinster girls battled to break through the Ulster defence. The second half was played at a frenetic pace as both teams tried to put a score on the board. A fine attacking run by Leinster on 20 minutes was held up by Ulster, but the Leinster girls kept to the task as they attacked the Ulster line.

As the weather conditions deteriorated, both teams were beset by knock-ons and handling errors in the strong wind and heavy rain. As full time approached, Ulster turned over the ball and put the Leinster defence under sustained pressure. Fine tackling by Mullingar RFC’s Sarah Murphy and Molly Scuffil McCabe of Westmanstown RFC – another scorer in the first round against Munster – held Ulster at bay. Ulster maintained the pressure but a last minute penalty fell short and the final score remained 0-0 – a fair reflection of two evenly matched sides on the day.

Congratulations to all the squad for their tremendous performance in this year’s series. Head coach Laura O’Callaghan, forwards coach Sarah Duignan and backs coaches Aoife Thompson and Meagan Parkinson, in addition to Women’s Rugby Development Officer, Jennie Bagnall, and team manager David McKeown, have developed a fine squad of committed and talented players and the future bodes well for Leinster women’s rugby.


15 Louise Scully (Portlaoise)

14 Eimear Corri (Portlaoise)

13 Rosie Newton (Greystones)

12 Hannah Rose Buckley (Wicklow)

11 Jenny Bowler (Westmanstown)

10 Stacey Flood (Railway Union)

9 Sarah Murphy (Mullingar)

1 Caoimhe Molloy (Gorey)

2 Aoife Brassil (Kilkenny)

3 Lauren Barry (Wicklow)

4 Daisy Earle (Gorey)

5 Tara Buggie (Portlaoise)

6 Nollaig McGuire (Naas)

7 Emma Lackey (Naas)

8 Emma Hooban (Portlaoise) (C)