Injury-hit Ballincollig deserved to be closer on the scoreboard, but Old Belvedere were clinical in taking their chances in a comprehensive 75-0 win in the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League.
ENERGIA WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Saturday, October 23
OLD BELVEDERE 75 BALLINCOLLIG 0, Ollie Campbell Park
Scorers: Old Belvedere: Tries: Clare Gorman 5, Laura Carty 3, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Elise O’Byrne-White, Grace Miller, Aine Donnelly, Oonagh Hynes; Cons: Jemma Farrell 5
HT: Old Belvedere 32 Ballincollig 0
Young winger Clare Gorman grabbed the headlines with a fantastic five-try haul – including three during the final quarter – as Old Belvedere bounced back from their recent defeat to UL Bohemians.
Johnny Garth’s charges led 32-0 at half-time and were able to bring on Ireland internationals Sene Naoupu and Kathryn Dane, who both made their first appearances of the season.
Ballincollig showed huge determination throughout, with number 8 Eimear Minihane and captain Gillian Coombes to the fore, but Belvedere had the gas out wide to keep piling on the points.
Having picked up a number of knocks, Ballincollig were missing six of their regular backs and club captain Clodagh Walsh. They were, nonetheless, very eager to test themselves against top four opposition.
Belvedere wasted little time in picking up scores, as skilful scrum half Jemma Farrell threaded through two kicks for Gorman to dribble through and touch down after four and 10 minutes.
Ballincollig’s defensive grit was summed up when Minihane and Gemma Lane managed to hold up Elaine Anthony and deny her a try after an incisive run from the Leinster lock.
However, the wind-backed Cork side were guilty of overplaying at times, in and around their own 22, and Belvedere needed no second invitation.
Good hands from Farrell and prop Melissa Hayden released Laura Carty for the right corner, making it 15-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After Anthony had a try ruled out for a forward pass, Meaghan Kenny intercepted in Ballincollig’s 22 and lively scrum half Lane soon foiled Alice O’Dowd’s rumble for the line, brilliantly dislodging the ball.
It was 28 minutes in when ‘Belvo bagged their bonus point from a well-worked maul, hooker Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony breaking off and scoring with good support from O’Dowd.
Elise O’Byrne-White neatly turned a loose Ballincollig pass into try number five, and the ball was soon swung wide for Grace Miller to get her name on the scoresheet. After some difficult kicks, Farrell flung over her first conversion.
Ballincollig had the ball stolen from a late lineout opportunity before the interval, and ‘Belvo kept up a high scoring rate on the resumption with winger Carty crossing from Aine Donnelly’s well-timed pass.
The third quarter was a good one for Fiona Hayes’ ‘Collig, although bad luck struck again when Lane injured herself after taking a quick tap. Belvedere’s Clodagh Dunne was sin-binned for not retreating the 10 metres.
Ballincollig replacement Kira Fitzgerald stepped in at scrum half and made very good yards, Annie Laffen also carried up close, but a Carty interception almost led to a try at the other end.
A nice chain of passes off a scrum sent Donnelly over in the 56th minute for a 42-0 lead, and Ireland star Naoupu began to make an impact with an hour on the clock.
She embarked on a strong run past halfway, feeding Donnelly who in turn released Carty who had the pace to complete her hat-trick, just ahead of the chasing Kelly Griffin.
Gorman took Belvedere past the half-century mark with a short run-in to the left of the posts. It all started with Dane tapping a penalty, Farrell cut through with a terrific dummy and break and Naoupu’s long pass out of a tackle set up the speed merchant.
Farrell converted and took her own tally to 10 points in the end, with ‘Belvo able to draw their scores closer to the posts despite some dogged defending from the visitors.
Work-hungry flanker Oonagh Hynes showed a great turn of pace to score from 65 metres out. Farrell converted from straight in front to make it 61-0.
Another quickly-taken penalty set the wheels in motion for Gorman to score from far out. Farrell and Naoupu released the 20-year-old and she scorched clear from just outside the Belvedere 22.
The long-striding Gorman claimed her fifth try – and Belvedere’s 13th – in the dying seconds, charging over from 40 metres out after more good hands from Naoupu and Donnelly.
OLD BELVEDERE: Grace Miller; Laura Carty, Elise O’Byrne-White, Ailbhe Dowling, Clare Gorman; Aine Donnelly, Jemma Farrell; Alice O’Dowd, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Melissa Hayden, Elaine Anthony, Jan Carroll, Oonagh Hynes, Lesley Ring, Clodagh Dunne.
Replacements: Ivanna Dempsey, Ciara O’Dwyer, Jess Spain, Amber Redmond, Dawn Keegan, Kathryn Dane, Sene Naoupu.
BALLINCOLLIG: Dee Kelly; Michelle Stafford, Lauren Fahy, Meaghan Kenny, Ellen O’Keeffe; Kelly Griffin, Gemma Lane; Roisin Ormond, Annie Laffen, Gerda Coyne, Denise Redmond, Gillian Coombes (capt), Eimear Perryman, Katelyn Fleming, Eimear Minihane.
Replacements: Sarah O’Donovan, Olivia Hay Mulvihill, Laurileigh Baker, Kira Fitzgerald, Niamh O’Regan, Aoife Flynn, Alix Cunneen.