In what turned out to be the close contest predicted earlier in the week, Galwegians women claimed an 11-9 victory over Clonmel in a pulsating game that got the Women’s All-Ireland League off to a superb start last Sunday.
It was a late try which separated the teams at the final whistle and though there were commendable pieces of play throughout, a lack of discipline in parts will have given Galwegians plenty to consider before their next league match away to Blackrock on Sunday.
Galwegians were seeking a good start to their All-Ireland League Division 1 campaign and to avenge the close defeat in last year’s reverse fixture in Tipperary.
They were, however, facing a Clonmel side bolstered with the arrival of a host of talented players from the now disbanded Waterpark team, which also claimed victory over Galwegians last year.
This did not deter the home side, captained this season by the indomitable Ruth O’Reilly, who started and continued to play with a determination and intensity that was difficult to break down.
O’Reilly herself was exemplary in defence and, along with her pack, was a commanding presence at the breakdown.
Galwegians’ rejuvenated back-line, under the command of out-half Claire Raftery, looked increasingly dangerous as the game went on, and were unlucky not to complete their many teasing runs in the face of an experienced Clonmel defence.
With both Galwegians and Clonmel’s place kickers, Angela Flaherty and Ireland star Niamh Briggs, performing well, it seemed inevitable that a try would decide who would walk away the victors.
Clonmel came close to breaking the home team’s line in the second half before a forward pass was spotted by the referee.
Shortly after, a penalty kick gave Clonmel a three-point advantage going into the last five minutes of the game.
But Galwegians’ new-found confidence and determination pulled through, propelling the team into the Clonmel half for the conclusion of the game, with scrum half Sinead Cosgrave touching down to register the decisive try.
Raftery was unlucky to miss the subsequent conversion but it mattered little as the celebrations began in earnest following the immediate final whistle.
Galwegians women will face last year’s league runners-up, Blackrock, in their next league fixture which will take place at Stradbrook next Sunday (September 20).