North-East 19 Midlands 17.

A fast start for North-East was the difference in the Bank of Ireland Leinster U18 Girls Sarah Robinson Cup at Navan RFC on Tuesday afternoon.

NE were quickly into their patterns, using the significant advantage of the wind to camp inside enemy territory.

They got the best possible return from the early pressure when outside centre Ella O’Higgins crossed for the first try at her hometown ground for Eve Conway to convert.

It got even better for them when their cutting edge delivered a second try for inside centre Rachel Fanning, converted by left-wing Conway for 14-0 in as many minutes.

There was a worry that the game could get completely away from Midlands until they found their feet as flanker Claire Burke and Jodie Ahern began to have a real impact.

In fact, it was the long-striding centre Ahern who exploited a brilliant pass by out-half Aoife Hughes to skin the defence for 14-5 in the 26th minute.

However, North East had enough in reserve to move into position again. This time, scrum-half Alex Connor was the main beneficiary of the pressure applied for the unconverted try.

Prop Keelin Byrne and full-back Sorcha Tierney were making good decisions before the pick-and-go employed by the forwards producing a try for Byrne, converted by Saoirse Guinan, in the 62nd minute.

There was a nervous endgame to be negotiated by NE and they just about managed to keep their noses in front.

On Wednesday, 22 February, in Tullow RFC, South-East and North Midlands will face off for the Sarah Robinson Cup title. 


Scorers – North East – E O’Higgins, R Fanning, A Connor try each; E Conway 2 cons. Midlands – J Ahern, K Byrne, S Tierney try each; S Guinan con.

North-East – 15. Skye Healy (Ashbourne), 14. Sarah Molloy (Navan), 13. Ella O’Higgins (Navan), 12. Rachel Fanning (Boyne), 11. Eve Conway (Dundalk), 10. Lilian Brady (Navan), 9. Alex Connor (Navan), 1. 1 . Chloe Brady (Navan), 2. Lauren Bryce (Skerries), 3. Orla Haughey (Ardee), 4. Kina Jackson (Ardee), 5. Sarah Guinan (Ardee), 6. Caoimhe Stewart (Ardee), 7. Ava Govern (Ardee, Capt), 8. Meah Reid (Navan).

Replacements: 16. Makia Carey (Ashbourne), 17. Aoibhin Nulty (Balbriggan), 18. Fiona Odige (Balbriggan), 19. Orla Skerritt (Ashbourne), 20. Melanie Fourie (Dundalk), 21. Emma Gallagher (Ashbourne), 22. Isabella Gogan (Navan), 23. Sarah White (Navan).


Midlands – 15. Sorcha Tierney (Birr), 14. Chloe Mulcahy (Tullamore), 13. Jodie Ahern (Mullingar, Capt), 12. Clodagh Farrell (Edenderry), 11. Hannah Connon (Tullamore), 10. Aoife Hughes (Tullamore), 9. Abigail O’Connor (Mullingar), 1. Shannon Doran (Edenderry), 2. Dorieann Oman (Tullamore), 3. Keelin Byrne (Longford), 4. Dervla Walshe (Longford), 5. Saoirse Guinan (Tullamore), 6. Eve Byrne (Mullingar), 7. Claire Burke (Tullamore), 8. Abigail Johnson (Mullingar).

Replacements: 16. Maebh Staunton (Edenderry), 17. Moya Murtagh (Mullingar).