Reports: Leinster Women’s League Finals
April 4, 2016 12:00 am client
Three Bank of Ireland Leinster Women’s League division finals were held last Saturday in Donnybrook Stadium and what a showcasing of women’s rugby it turned out to be.
While the Division 4 final between Portlaoise RFC and Wanderers FC was postponed, the other finals proved to be evenly contested and absorbing games, demonstrating the best of women’s rugby from committed sides.
Leinster Women’s Committee chair, Mary Quinn, summed it up when she said: “It was a great day for women’s rugby in Leinster. Congratulations to all the teams that took part. Many thanks to the match officials, Bective Rangers and the Branch and all those who helped for their contribution on the day.”
Bank of Ireland Leinster League Division three final
GOREY RFC 20 – 0 MU BARNHALL RFC
Gorey RFC emerged victorious as the Bank of Ireland Leinster League Division 3 champions last Saturday after a hard fought and exciting contest against MU Barnhall RFC in Donnybrook Stadium.
Gorey applied pressure from the start with Ann Cumiskey and Ciara Tomkins both making attacking runs and trying to break down the Barnhall defence. Barnhall responded with a number of attacking moves of their own as Andrea Field used quick ball to try to put the first points on the board.
Orlaith Graham almost broke the deadlock on the half hour mark when she was held up on the line by a strong Gorey defence. The damp and cold weather conditions made ball handling difficult but great defensive work by both teams meant the match was scoreless at half time.
The second half was all about Gorey as they upped the tempo with quick and clever passing moves across the pitch. Barnhall defended well as they fought off the waves of Gorey pressure. Gorey had an opportunity to put the first points on the board after 50 minutes but Jessica Foote’s penalty kick was wide.
Gorey maintained the pressure, however, with Ciara Breen and Lauren Farrell McCabe combining well across the pitch. After a yellow card against Barnhall for an infringement on the line, Gorey finally made the breakthrough as Lorraine Gahan touched down in the corner for a well-deserved score on the hour mark. The conversion was wide but the floodgates had opened as Gorey followed up with two more tries in quick succession.
An interception by Ciara Breen saw her run through to add another five points. The conversion kick from Jessica Foote seemed to drifting off but the ball bounced off the cross bar and over to bring the score to 12-0. Barnhall regrouped but Gorey’s tails were up and MVP Roisin Murphy touched down in the corner after a deft pick up and side step to add a further five points and bring the score to 17-0.
Barnhall struggled to clear their lines and an infringement at the breakdown saw Jessica Foote add three more points from a penalty kick to bring the final score to 20-0 and give Gorey RFC the Division 3 title for 2016.
Bank of Ireland Leinster League Division two final
TULLAMORE 17 – 15 CYM RFC
Tullamore RFC emerged victorious as the Bank of Ireland Leinster League Division 2 champions last Saturday after a hard fought and physical contest against CYM RFC on pitch 2 in Donnybrook Stadium.
In difficult conditions CYM started the stronger of the two sides with strong carries from the forwards. Their first score came in the 8th minute from a fantastic try by out half Hannah O’Connor who carried strongly over the line in a try which was orchestrated by their backs who worked their way through multiple phases from the half way line. O’Connor easily converted from a kick in front of the posts.
CYM were reduced to 14 players in the 15th minute when No. 12 Suzie Glynn was yellow carded for an infringement on the CYM line which stopped Tullamore from levelling the score. Tullamore knocked the ball on into the CYM try line from the penalty giving CYM time to regroup.
From the restart CYM fought their way back into Tullamores half. No. 8 Rachel Horan found space on the wing and broke into Tullamores 22, but her efforts ran short as she was pushed into touch by a number of Tullamore defenders. CYM continued their pressure with Diane McMcIlhagga tackled just short of the Tullamore try line. Tullamore infringed in the next phase of play leaving Hannagh O’Connor an easy penalty kick in front of the posts CYM stretched their lead 10-0 after 21 minutes.
Tullamore were far from beaten and with huge support on the sidelines worked their way back and got their reward and their first points of the day in the 26th minute when Jill Draper, who was named MVP of the game, wriggled her way over the CYM try line. Pauline Keating converted leaving the score CYM 10-7. Conditions further deteriorated in the remaining minutes of the first half with a number of handling errors from both sides.
The second half was a battle of strength and defence, with both sides having their chances but ultimately coming up short. Tullamore’s strength and determination was rewarded with eight minutes of play remaining with a second try from No. 6, Chloe Lowry, which was ably converted by Pauline Keating. The tide continued to turn in Tullamore’s favour with a penalty minutes later in front of the posts after another CYM infringement, leaving the score 17-10. The contest was far from over when, from the restart, CYMs Suzie Glynn made a great run down the right wing. Glynn opted to take the ball into contact and score in the corner, but had she looked to her left she would have seen team mates in space. The last action of the game was the conversion kick which would have been tough for the world’s best out halves – sadly for CYM, Hannah O’Connor pushed the kick just left of the posts. The agony of defeat was momentarily pushed aside as the entire CYM team ran to console O’Connor.
Bank of Ireland Leinster League Division one final
EDENDERRY RFC 15 – 5 RATHDRUM RFC
The final game of the day saw evenly matched Rathdrum RFC and Edenderry RFC contest the Division 1 final.
Rathdrum RFC were the first to settle as they applied lots of pressure on the Edenderry lines in the opening minutes. Orla Redmond made the first break but she was held up by a firm Edenderry defence. Laura Hogan kept up the pressure though and she was rewarded with a well worked try within the first five minutes. The conversion attempt was wide.
Edenderry RFC fought back and the ball was moved from end to end throughout the first half by the two very determined sides. The poor weather conditions contributed to numerous handling errors from both teams but they continued to put together strong and fast paced attacking moves as the half time whistle blew with Rathdrum maintaining their five-point advantage.
The second half opened as the first ended with Edenderry continuing to put pressure on the Rathdrum defence. Showing good organisation and passing skills, the Edenderry side forged forward but Rathdrum managed to hold out. Edenderry were camped in the Rathdrum half, going through phase after phase which was finally rewarded when co-captain Emma Coyne touched down on the hour mark. The conversion attempt was just wide to leave the score level at 5-5.
Rathdrum bounced back as they attempted to regain the lead but the Edenderry defence held firm. Lisa Moore gained valuable metres for the midlands side but neither side gave any quarter and the score remained deadlocked at 5-5 after 80 minutes.
Despite a yellow card early in the first period of extra time, Rathdrum pushed forward but a penalty in front of the posts drifted wide. On the restart, Edenderry launched an attack into the Rathdrum half with Oonagh Mulligan breaking clear. A great pass to Jane Fitzpatrick saw her gain more metres before Rochella Gill gathered the ball and scored under the posts to bring the score to 5-10 after the conversion was missed.
Edenderry withheld Rathdrum pressure in the second period of extra time before MVP Ann Marie Manley broke off from a scrum to run in a third try to bring the score to 5-15. Rathdrum refused to bow though and only a try saving tackle from Jane Fitzpatrick stopped Rathdrum’s Orla Redmond on the line. The final whistle went shortly afterwards with Edenderry RFC crowned Division 1 champions for 2016.