Rugby – U/14 Girls League s-f
TULLAMORE arrived in Portlaoise on Saturday looking to secure a place in the League final. The much-fancied Portlaoise side were up against an impressive Tullamore team. Portlaoise played Tullamore in the Cup last November and while Portlaoise progressed, Tullamore are a very good team who play an impressive game.
The game kicked off in lovely spring sunshine, despite a late pitch inspection due to the horrendous rain during the week. Tullamore laid siege inside the Portlaoise 22 for what seemed like an eternity. Strong running with crisp precise passing were met by the Portlaoise wall, led by Tara Peavoy, Jessica Delaney, and Chloe Kavanagh. Portlaoise were holding out despite the onslaught. A lovely move out to the wing allowed Tullamore to cross the line for the first try of the day. The conversion from a tight angle was missed.
Portlaoise needed to respond and began their own assault. Tullamore had their confidence up after their early try and were every bit as impressive in the tackle.
In what was to be an intense battle through the middle for both sides, Portlaoise began to find space on the wings and great work from Lilly Brophy to find Mary O’Hara who made a great run for a try into the corner for Portlaoise’s opening score which was expertly converted by Saffron Adams.
Portlaoise were starting to play with some real intent, constant pressure in the tackle from Captain Elisha Gilligan and Freya Stanley inside the Tullamore half was keeping the opposition at bay.
The pressure was to pay off when a mistimed pass led to some confusion in the Tullamore defence allowing Saffron Adams to capitalise and run straight under the posts. Converted again by Saffron Adams.
Tullamore would never give up and continued applying pressure on Portlaoise. A loose ball inside the Portlaoise 22 saw Ciara Cuddy punt the ball away and apply the pressure back onto Tullamore. Tullamore were unable to cope on the back foot and Molly Kelly would make them pay with another try. Saffron Adams would convert again.
The whistle blew shortly after for Portlaoise to go into half time break 21-5 up.
The second half kicked off with the same intensity as the first. Tullamore starting the way they started the first. Pressure would pay off again as they crossed the try line. Portlaoise needed to buckle down. Tullamore are a serious team. A neat interchange of play between Amy Peters and Ciara Cuddy set up Aoibheann Conroy to cross the line for another Portlaoise try.
Strong carries from Daisy Whitten and Erin Powell allowed Portlaoise to gain territory into the Tullamore 22, quick work from Molly Jane Dempsey and Rachel Hovendon would set up Molly Kelly again for another try which would put this game to bed.
Molly Fitzpatrick and Keelin O’Brien Crossland entered the fray, both were involved in setting up Louise Hyland, who was making great carries into Tullamore territory. The game would ebb and flow for the last few minutes with the final whistle blowing which would see Portlaoise win and another final to look forward to on Saturday 15 April.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is an impressive U/14 team and if you like your rugby, come see them play the final. You will not be disappointed. Details will be confirmed.
Portlaoise Panel: Jessica Delaney, Erin Powell, Daisy Whitten, Amy Peters, Rachel Connolly Ferguson, Chloe Kavanagh, Molly Kelly, Lilly Brophy, Molly Jane Dempsey, Elisha Gilligan, Saffron Adams, Mary O’Hara, Freya Stanley, Kate Ging, Keelin O’Brien Crossland, Emily Harvey, Molly Fitzpatrick, Abbie Delaney, Aoibheann Conroy, Tara Peavoy, Rachel Hovenden, Ella Sherlock, Emma Heffernan, Faye Scully, Ruby Maunsell, Orlaith Costigan, Louise Hyland, Ellie Mahoney, Ruby Coyle, Grace Pearson, Rosa Conroy, Ciara Cuddy, Emma Fitzpatrick, Eve Thompson O’Dwyer.