A Munster Under-18 girls team, captained by Clanwilliam’s Louise Egan, played their first ever representative match recently against English side Worcester at Cork Constitution RFC. The hosts may have lost 22-5 but they acquitted themselves extremely well and can be very proud of their efforts.
Playing in brilliant Leeside sunshine, Worcester were first to score with a fine try under the Munster posts, which was duly converted. Munster went about their attacks with renewed vigour and this resulted in Ashling Hutchings using her searing pace to round the Worcester defence and score about twenty metres to the right of the posts. Sarah Keane struck the conversion kick well, only to see the ball bounce back off an upright.
The margin between the sides remained at two points for a very tense and exciting 15-minute period before Worcester again crossed for an unconverted try. The score remained at 12-5 for most of the remainder of the game.
With only minutes to go Munster began to throw everything at their opponents in an attempt to score a try and level the tie. As usually happens though, when caution is thrown to the wind, errors are made and highly experienced Worcester pounced on these to run in two late tries. Risks had to be taken and unfortunately, they did not pay off this time for Munster.
The Munster squad can be very proud of a performance that was rated by one of the best sides in England as the toughest they could remember. This performance came from a team that was assembled only a matter of weeks before the game. Players were still getting to know each other in the lead-up to the game and, on the field of play, had to learn what their team-mates were capable of. The large and vocal crowd in attendance saw a team form before their eyes as the players began to gel and leaders emerged.
In the forwards Kirstina Kenneally of Thurles and Shannon’s Tracy Lawlor stood out, especially in their attacks on the Worcester defences. In the back line, inspirational leadership was shown by captain Louise Egan in the out-half position, with young Fermoy star Hutchings showing tremendous attacking ability, as well as saving a number of tries with her excellent tackling.
Good luck from IrishRugby.ie to the Munster girls squad for their upcoming game against Ulster.
MUNSTER (v Worcester): Eileen Shanahan; Mollie O’Donnell, Danielle Ryan, Sarah Keane, Ashling Hutchings; Louise Egan (capt), Clare Merrigan; Rachel Wallace, Tracy Lawlor, Lorraine Culbert, Rachel Kelly, Kristina Kenneally, Louise Fitzgerald, Sandra Keane, Niamh Coman.
Replacements: Anna Caplice, Mary-Rose Flanagan, Danni Delahunty, Mary-Kate Glynn, Shona Lenihan, Lisa Anglim, Rosie Lynch.