All four provinces came together for the first time this season as the PwC IRFU Under-18 Women’s Interprovincial Championship stepped it up a notch at St. Mary’s College RFC.
PWC IRFU U-18 WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 2: Sunday, September 5
CONNACHT U-18 WOMEN 7 MUNSTER U-18 WOMEN 5, St. Mary’s College RFC
Scorers: Connacht U-18 Women: Try: Sarah McCormick; Con: Éabha Nic Dhonnacha
Munster U-18 Women: Try: Ellen Boylan.
HT: Connacht U-18 Women 7 Munster U-18 Women 0
Connacht’s determination and resilience over two games of the PwC Interprovincial Series paid off with a rousing 7-5 victory over defending champions Munster at Templeville Road.
It was an entertaining and competitive affair for the full 70 minutes. Connacht had defended well in the face of an overpowering Leinster attack last week, but added a cutting edge in attack with this performance.
Molly Boote was a menace with ball in hand. She raced onto an intercept just as Munster were getting their offload game firing in the first quarter, and Eloise Clarke had to be forced into touch just metres out to prevent a try.
The strike running of Carrick-on-Suir full-back Ellen Boylan looked like Munster’s main attacking threat early on, while their kick-chase was causing problems for Connacht too.
Kate Flannery had one swerving run in midfield and Saskia Wycherley, cheered on from the stands by her brother Fineen, was faultless in the first half as Munster’s lineout winner.
Saskia pulled down another clean lineout after 32 minutes, but Munster’s exit kick from inside the 22 was caught brilliantly by Boote. She found Éabha Nic Dhonnacha who popped the ball off to Ballina’s Sarah McCormick to charge for the line.
Nic Dhonnacha’s conversion was to prove crucial, and with Connacht 7-0 to the good at half-time, they went close to scoring again soon after the restart.
Munster hesitated after a knock on in front of their posts and Roisin Maher dived on the loose ball. It was recycled to out-half Aifric Ní Ghibne, who was unfortunate to be held up in crossing the line.
Despite some inspirational turnovers from Connacht captain Ivana Kiripati and her back row colleagues, Munster’s efforts were deserving of a score and it arrived in the 66th minute.
A crash ball carry from skipper Shauna Maher set up the overlap for Boylan to cross the whitewash out wide. Flannery’s difficult conversion fell short and Connacht kept their noses in front.
Munster’s scrum earned them one last chance, but Connacht’s work-rate at the breakdown was worthy of winning the game, and it fell to prop Roisin Maher to kick the ball out of play and spark scenes of jubilation for the young women of the west.
CONNACHT U-18 WOMEN: Clara Barrett (Ballina RFC); Beibhinn Gleeson (Tuam RFC), Molly Boote (Connemara RFC), Éabha Nic Dhonnacha (Galway Corinthians RFC), Clodagh Powell (Ballinasloe RFC); Aifric Ní Ghibne (Galway Corinthians RFC), Olivia Haverty (Ballinasloe RFC); Ellen O’Toole (Westport RFC), Joann Curley (Ballinasloe RFC), Roisin Maher (Creggs RFC), Grainne Hahessy (Claremorris RFC), Sarah McCormick (Ballina RFC), Eloise Clarke (Buccaneers RFC), Karly Tierney (Oughterard RFC), Ivana Kiripati (Buccaneers RFC) (capt).
Replacements: Leah Sweeney (Ballina RFC), Abigail Gibbons (Claremorris RFC), Mollie Starr (Portumna RFC), Kate Brady (Sligo RFC), Aibidh Ní Mháille (Galway Corinthians RFC), Amy McWilliams (Ballina RFC), Emma Jane Mitchell (Ballinasloe RFC), Maria Gorham (Connemara RFC).
MUNSTER U-18 WOMEN: Ellen Boylan (Carrick-on-Suir RFC); Aisling Stock (Bantry Bay RFC), Lucia Linn (Dolphin RFC), Brianna Heylmann (Waterpark RFC), Emily O’Regan (Tralee RFC), Kate Flannery (Fethard & District RFC), Ellie Cournane (Iveragh/Abbeyfeale RFC); Ciara Fleming (Carrick-on-Suir RFC), Robyn McKenna (Ballina-Killaloe RFC), Shauna Maher (Fethard & District RFC) (capt), Kaitlyn Callanan (Thurles RFC), Aimee Kelly (Bruff RFC), Kira Fitzgerald (Youghal RFC), Saskia Wycherley (Bantry Bay RFC), Anna Kate Cournane (Iveragh/Abbeyfeale RFC).
Replacements: Orla Evans (Midleton RFC), Aoife Fleming (Carrick-on-Suir RFC), Katie Houlihan (Abbeyfeale RFC), Tova McMahon (Ballina-Killaloe RFC), Rebecca Rogers (Ballina-Killaloe RFC), Kate O’Sullivan (Skibbereen RFC), Aoibhe O’Flynn (Youghal RFC), Beth Buttimer (Fethard & District RFC).
LEINSTER U-18 WOMEN 54 ULSTER U-18 WOMEN 0, St. Mary’s College RFC
Scorers: Leinster U-18 Women: Tries: Erin King, Katie Whelan, Alanna Fitzpatrick 2, Aoife Wafer, Emma Tilly 2, Aoife Dalton; Cons: Dannah O’Brien 4, Abby Moyles 3
Ulster U-18 Women: –
HT: Leinster U-18 Women 28 Ulster U-18 Women 0
Leinster built on their impressive opening to the PwC Interprovincial Series with a 54-0 triumph over Ulster at St. Mary’s College RFC.
The central location gave Talent ID coaches another chance to cast their eye over all four provinces, and there were plenty of promising players on show for Leinster in an eight-try performance.
Ulster, playing in their first game of the campaign, did plenty of things well. They were lively with ball in hand in the opening exchanges and a half-break from Enniskillen’s Moya Hill threatened to carve Leinster open.
The line speed in defence and depth in attack that Leinster showed on day one at the IRFU HPC were on show again.
Aoife Dalton made an early break, and the score looked gone when Sophie Barrett made the covering tackle, but the young Tullamore centre managed a superb offload for the onrushing Erin King to score.
The lead was 14-0 after 20 minutes when Katie Whelan was sharpest, breaking through for her third try of the tournament after Ulster had misjudged a clearance kick.
Dannah O’Brien slotted over the touchline conversion with ease on a day that saw her land all four of her conversions and pin Ulster into their own half with some great tactical kicking out of hand.
Ulster responded with a spell of decent territory. Their back-three looked equal to Leinster’s counter-attack and Rebecca Mann was able to use the touchline as an extra defender on more than one occasion.
Lucy Thompson was a fingernail away from an interception for Ulster on the half hour mark. The loose ball instead went to Leinster winger Alanna Fitzpatrick who was able to dance through the cover and score under the posts.
Leinster’s lead was 28-0 at the interval when captain Aoife Wafer stepped into the passing channel to pull off an intercept of her own.
Wafer and her team-mates managed to step things up after the break. Their bench maintained momentum – Abby Moyles hitting three conversions and multiple overlaps gave MU Barnhall’s Emma Tilly plenty of space to score a brace of tries.
Ulster still had their moments with some decent exit kicking from Hill and out-half Farrah Cartin McCloskey. Brave tackling from Jana McQuillan and strong carrying from Sadhbh McGrath typified their resilience.
The day was Leinster’s, though, as Fitzpatrick scorched home for her second try and Aoife Dalton popped up with an intercept in the final moments to romp clear from her own half.
LEINSTER U-18 WOMEN: Ciara Boland (Enniscorthy RFC); Emma Tilly (MU Barnhall RFC), Victoria Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC), Aoife Dalton (Tullamore RFC), Alanna Fitzpatrick (Portarlington RFC); Dannah O’Brien (Tullow RFC), Katie Whelan (Enniscorthy RFC); Hannah Wilson (Cill Dara RFC), Sarah Ann Delaney (Cill Dara RFC), Isobel Clerk (Mullingar RFC), Koren Dunne (Portlaoise RFC), Leah Tarpey (Tullamore RFC), Eadaoin Murtagh (Cill Dara RFC), Aoife Wafer (Enniscorthy RFC) (capt), Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC).
Replacements: Anna Brennock (Old Belvedere RFC), Caoimhe Colman (Balbriggan RFC), Meabh Keegan (Clontarf FC), Amy O’Mahony (Greystones RFC), Ruth Campbell (Naas RFC), Jade Gaffney (Navan RFC), Abby Moyles (Navan RFC), Mia Kelly (Enniscorthy RFC).
ULSTER U-18 WOMEN: Jana McQuillan (Malone RFC); Sophie Meeke (Enniskillen RFC), Lucy Thompson (Enniskillen RFC), Moya Hill (Enniskillen RFC), Rebecca Mann (Donaghadee RFC); Farrah Cartin McCloskey (Enniskillen RFC), Sarah Shrestha (Dungannon RFC) (capt); Katie-Anne McCallion (Malone RFC), Maebh Clenaghan (Letterkenny RFC), Anna Smith (Virginia RFC), Cara O’Kane (Cooke RFC), Jorja Battishill (Malone RFC), Sadhbh McGrath (City of Derry RFC), Jennifer Collins (Malone RFC), Sophie Barrett (Enniskillen RFC).
Replacements: Sarah Roberts (Donaghadee RFC), Sarah McBride (Ballymena RFC), Aoife Keaney (Enniskillen RFC), Carolyn Grossmann (Banbridge RFC), Aisling McEnroe (Virginia RFC), Ellie-Louise McCall (City of Armagh RFC), Cora Balfour (Enniskillen RFC), Christy Hill (Ballymena RFC).