Wicklow win Paul Cusack Cup with last-minute try
April 27, 2017 11:51 am Site Editor
Garda/Westmanstown and Wicklow met on three previous occasions this season before the Paul Cusack Cup Final.
Each contest had been an exciting one, but without doubt the two teams saved the best for last.
Garda/Westmanstown started the game like a team out to prove a point, having lost the previous three encounters.
Strong pressure from the kick-off led to a turnover and the Dublin team piled on the pressure resulting in a penalty in front of posts which was taken by the game’s undoubted MVP, Garda/Westmanstown outhalf Ciara McDonnell, giving her side a 3-0 lead.
The pressure continued and a fantastic kick behind the defensive line by Ciara McDonnell saw winger Grace Rogers extend Garda’s lead to 10-0, with McDonnell adding the conversion.
The same pairing combined a short time later to give Rogers her second try of the game.
Wicklow came back with a strong try and conversion to make it 15-7.
Their progress was halted, however, when Rachel Griffey was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.
This gave Garda a kickable penalty which Ciara McDonnell converted to make it 18-7.
Wicklow struck back with a converted try bringing the score to 18-14, but from the restart Garda applied the pressure and McDonnell crashed through the Wicklow defense to add to her tally.
The conversion followed and Garda had a 25-14 lead with 15 minutes to play.
Despite this setback, Wicklow began to really come into the game, with their fitness proving to be the difference.
They were unlucky to be held up over the line.
Garda’s Siobhan O’Neill received the second yellow of the day for her team’s continuous infringements with eight minutes of normal time remaining.
The experience of Wicklow shone through in the final stages and an incredible individual try from Megan Parkinson brought the score to 25-21 with only minutes on the clock.
Wicklow claimed the restart and again came at the Garda defense, still down a player, and wore them down before spreading it wide and scoring in the corner to secure a League and Cup Double for Wicklow.
At Donnybrook: Wicklow 28 Garda/Westmanstown 25, Bank of Ireland Paul Cusack Cup Final, Saturday, April 22