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Star-Studded Vixens Triumph In ‘7s In The City’

Star-Studded Vixens Triumph In ‘7s In The City’

A star-studded Vixens squad triumphed in the Supervalu ‘7s in the City’ all-female Sevens tournament hosted by Buccaneers RFC at Dubarry Park on Saturday.

After a most entertaining afternoon of competitive Sevens rugby in Athlone, Vixens overcame an also impressive Railway Union side in the Cup decider. Last year’s winners, Blackrock, captured ‘The Piano Bar’ Plate defeating a spirited Shirt The Ducks outfit in that final.

Meanwhile, in the Under-18 competition, Portlaoise proved too strong for neighbours Tullamore. National Breast Cancer Research Ireland was the designated charity of this Sevens event.

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Vixens and Railway Union both progressed with 100% winning records through their group sections, both conceding just two tries en-route to the knockout stages. Vixens overcame Old Belvedere 36-0 in their semi-final, while Railway Union accounted for hosts Buccaneers 29-5.

In the final, Vixens, with Jeannette Feighery snatching a brace of tries, scampered away to a 19-0 half-time advantage that was stretched to 26-0 early in the second period. Siobhan Barrett and Ailsa Hughes shared the latter two tries and Jeamie Deacon added a hat-trick of conversions.

Cajoled by Tania Rosser, the vastly experienced Six Nations-winning scrum half, they were sharper and more clinical when chances appeared, yet this margin flattered them as Railway Union too had opportunities.

Railway’s support play was not as swift or cohesive as it needed to be, but they refused to throw in the towel and a strong finish in which they reduced the arrears to 26-14 was a fairer reflection on their endeavours. Eimear Murphy and Nicole Fowley finished off enterprising work for their touchdowns. The Sandymount-based club gained some consolation with Kim Flood receiving the R8 Player of the Tournament accolade.

Blackrock were unable to retain the Open title won in last summer’s inaugural 7s in the City, but they battled all afternoon and were rewarded with a hard-earned 33-22 success over Shirt The Ducks in the Plate final. The Galwegians representatives really got in the spirit of the occasion as they also celebrated their captain Marian Doolan’s birthday!

‘Rock dominated for the majority of this decider but, despite looking comfortably ahead on a number of occasions, they found the westerners challenging to the very end before prevailing on a 33-22 scoreline.

In the U-18 grade, Portlaoise looked much more organised and experienced than a younger looking Tullamore outfit in this midlands derby. The impressive Eimear Corri scored the first try of the afternoon and also looked the most exciting prospective talent on view. Meanwhile, St. Mary’s may not have enjoyed much reward on the field of play but they were worthy winners of the Fair Play award.

Many thanks to key event organisers Mele Kiripati, Sandra Griffin and Niamh Ni Dhroma for staging another terrific exhibition of Women’s and Girls Sevens rugby at the midlands venue.

Ireland Sevens internationals Laura Lee Walsh and Shannon Houston attended the tournament and the RBS Women’s 6 Nations trophy was a ‘special guest’ on the day. The generosity of all the sponsors is greatly appreciated with Athlone Towncentre supporting the free Family Day fun attractions such as the bouncy castle, tug-of-war and face-painting that proved so popular with children and parents alike.

In a well-structured event, the contribution of referees, physios and Order of Malta are gratefully acknowledged as was the input of scorekeeper Alex Hayman and announcer Diarmuid Sloane. Roll on next year!