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#NothingLikeIt: Celebrations For UCD In SSI IRFU Division 1 League

#NothingLikeIt: Celebrations For UCD In SSI IRFU Division 1 League

UCD are the Student Sport Ireland IRFU Women’s Division 1 League champions for 2021 after a 20-5 win over UL at the Belfield Bowl.


UCD 20 UL 5, Belfield Bowl, UCD
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Katie Hogan, Rachel Murphy, Alannah Boyle; Con: Christine Coffey;  Pen: Christine Coffey
UL: Try: Niamh Ryan
HT: UCD 0 UL 0

The Limerick students were winners of the last final to be played in 2019 but this was UCD’s night.

Neither side gave an inch in a first half without a score, but the home side broke the deadlock with a Christine Coffey penalty early in the second half before tries from Katie Hogan, Rachel Murphy and Alannah Boyle gave them control over the scoreboard.

UL shut down an early attack on their try-line and big carries from Meadbh Scally were regularly putting them over the gain line.

Abbie Salter-Townshend was driving the tempo and they would have been the happier team at half-time. Their try came from Niamh Ryan in the final play.

Half-time proved to be a wake-up call for UCD as they ramped up the intensity, particularly at ruck time, and started putting phases together.

“This is really special,” said UCD captain Coffey, herself a senior Women’s Interprovincial representative with Munster who plays her club rugby in the Energia All-Ireland League with Railway Union.

“It’s college rugby. Everyone is learning. Everyone is just there for the enjoyment of it and there’s a massive social aspect of it as well so everyone is just here for the fun.

“That’s what we love about it and then getting a bit of silverware is always nice on top of that.”

It was a well-contested final with a sprinkling of Energia All-Ireland League and Interprovincial players on both sides, as well as young women who are finding their way in rugby for the first time at third level.

“Third level is a great opportunity,” said winning head coach Alice O’Callaghan. “In UCD we’ve created a fantastic environment. It’s very open and welcoming.

“We’ve girls who are new to the game and we’ve also girls who have played before. It’s just a great environment to make friends.

“You could be in a course with hundreds of people. Also if you’re not living on campus, you might not have that immediate friend group of people you’re living with. So it’s a really great way to come down, see the same people two nights a week and have great fun.”

UCD: Alais Diebold; Jennifer Dunn, Daphne Raoult, Katie Hogan, Aiveen Treacy; Emma Kelly, Christine Coffey; Alix Cunneen, Wren Higgins, Cara Donovan, Siobhan Boyle, Anna Potterton, Anna Kavanagh, Emma Costello, Margaret Edlund.

Replacements: Rachel Murphy, Eibhlin Laffan Downes, Cecile Mourgues, Tess Meade, Hannah Juul, Alannah Boyle, Ivanna Dempsey.

Head Coach: Alice O’Callaghan

UL: Leah McCarty; Emily Kenny, Roisin Houlihan, Hannah Gullane, Grace Butler; Aoibhe O’Flynn, Abbie Salter-Townshend; Siobhan Fitzgerald, Lily Brady, Aine Managan, Caitlin Heffernan, Eva McCormack, Laura Sampson, Meadbh Scally, Claire Bennett.

Replacements: Niamh Ryan, Becky Nee, Sarah McKeogh, Hannah Foxe, Nicole Murphy, Phoebe Ravenhill, Marie Deceuninck.

Head Coach: Olan Daly