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Ireland Girls Win Bowl Title At UK School Games

Ireland Girls Win Bowl Title At UK School Games

The Ireland Under-18 Girls Sevens squad arrived home with the Bowl title from the 2014 Sainsbury’s UK School Games which took place in Manchester over the weekend.

The talented Ireland side, coached by Stan McDowell and captained by Jayne Pennefather, really came to the fore on the final day as they were crowned Bowl champions – fifth overall – in the Rugby Sevens event.

They posted back-to-back wins over England Midlands and Scotland on Sunday, with scrum half Shannen Lane running in a magnificent opening try from her own 22 against the Midlands outfit.

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Stacey Flood converted and also added the extras to the second Irish try finished by Chloe Blackmore after a strong scything run from the hooker.

14-7 ahead at the break, Ireland secured their passage through to the Bowl final with further tries from Flood, who touched down on the left, and Jessica Hunt who went in under the posts after some excellent turnovers by Meabh Donohoe. Flood landed the second conversion for a 26-7 final scoreline.

In the Bowl decider, left winger Eimear Corri used her blinding pace to race up the touchline and score the opening try within the first 30 seconds.

Flood converted and then showed some nice footwork to score her second try of the day and leave Scotland 12-0 behind.

Ireland continued to dictate play and two more tries from Corri and Lane gave the girls in green a commanding 26-0 lead at the interval.

Both teams started to tire after the weekend’s matches, however Ireland produced two second half scores as Irene Herlihy grabbed her first try of the tournament and Corri completed her hat-trick for a terrific 36-0 victory.

Ireland team manager Shannon Reid told IrishRugby.ie: “The girls showed great focus and determination throughout the tournament, improving with every single match. They were able to rely on all of the hard work that they’d been putting in over the last few months.

“I was delighted to see them pull together on the final day and play the exciting and skilled rugby that they’re capable of delivering.

“Spirits are on a high now heading into the FIRA tournament this coming weekend in Sweden and the players and management are looking forward to the next challenge.”

Ireland had a tough opening two days in Manchester, losing their three pool games and being knocked out of the Cup competition by England London/South East.

Aisling O’Hagan created go-forward ball for Lane to score Ireland’s first try in their 26-12 opening defeat to last year’s rivals, England South West. Newcomer Corri darted clear to score their second.

Ireland then ran out of time when being edged out by Wales Dragons ‘B’ (10-5), with Zoe Lynch scoring on the left wing after a strong Irish scrum with just 90 seconds left.

Some well-timed passes freed up captain Pennefather to score on the left wing and give Ireland an early lead over England North. However, the English team pulled clear in the second half to record a 29-5 win.

The girls in green went on to face Pool A toppers and eventual Cup champions, England London/South East, at the quarter-final stage.

Ireland had improved their line speed and handling throughout Saturday and showed immense bravery in the day’s final match, forcing English errors and turnovers to establish good field position.

A late try before the break gave LSE a 5-0 half-time lead and despite some nice breaks by Blackmore and Corri, McDowell’s charges were unable to break the solid LSE defence as they succumbed to a 19-0 quarter-final defeat.

But Pennefather and her team-mates ended the tournament on a high on Sunday and the Bowl win will certainly boost confidence levels for the upcoming trip to Sweden.

IRELAND UNDER-18 GIRLS SEVENS Squad (Sainsbury’s UK School Games, Manchester, September 4-7, 2014):

Chloe Blackmore (Carrick-on-Suir/Munster)
Eimear Corri (Portlaoise/Leinster)
Meabh Donohoe (Tullow/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Irene Herlihy (Mallow/Munster)
Jessica Hunt (Wicklow/Leinster)
Shannen Lane (Cavan/Ulster)
Zoe Lynch (Carrick-on-Suir/Munster)
Meabh O’Brien (Naas/Leinster)
Aisling O’Hagan (Thurles/Munster)
Jayne Pennefather (Carrigaline/Munster) (capt)
Louise Scully (Cill Dara/Leinster)

RESULTS:

Pool B –

England South West 26 Ireland 12
Ireland 5 Wales Dragons ‘B’ 10
Ireland 5 England North 29

Cup Quarter-Final: England London/South East 19 Ireland 0

Bowl Semi-Final: Ireland 26 England Midlands 7

Bowl Final: Ireland 36 Scotland 0