Australian duo Janita Kareta and Annie Buntine both touched down during Suttonians’ 24-12 triumph over Ballincollig, as they bagged their second try-scoring bonus point of the campaign.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE WOMEN’S DIVISION: Saturday, November 12
SUTTONIANS 24 BALLINCOLLIG 12, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
Scorers: Suttonians: Tries: Janita Kareta, Annie Buntine, Roisin O’Driscoll, Meabh O’Brien; Cons: Órfhlaith Murray 2
Ballincollig: Tries: Denise Redmond, Tiare Siguenza; Con: Denise Redmond
HT: Suttonians 12 Ballincollig 7
Seeking their first win in four rounds, Suttonians led 12-7 at the interval with influential replacement Denise Redmond crashing over from close range to keep Ballincollig in the hunt.
However, further tries from replacement Roisin O’Driscoll and winger Meabh O’Brien had Sutts out of sight before Tiare Siguenza added a second try for ‘Collig late on.
Ballincollig will dust themselves off and aim for their opening victory of the season next Saturday when they host Cooke in a basement battle. Stephen Costelloe’s Sutts side, meanwhile, face a trip to table toppers Blackrock College.
This penultimate round clash was played in windy conditions at the JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds, some early encouraging signs for ‘Collig seeing Michelle O’Driscoll make a break and prop Roisin Ormond dig out a turnover.
Suttonians were well organised in defence and able to keep them at arm’s length, despite an interception from Alison Kelly and the high work-rate of flankers Kira Fitzgerald and Katelyn Fleming.
The Dubliners increased their physicality, Brenda Barr ripping the ball back in a tackle and dislodging possession in another hit either side of a hack downfield from out-half Órfhlaith Murray.
Some nice interplay between centres Buntine and Catherine Martin brought Sutts into the ‘Collig 22 for the first time, and they made sure to leave with points as loosehead Kareta burrowed over with 15 minutes gone.
Buntine was involved again as the ball was spread wide during the build-up, O’Brien going close before the forwards chipped away and Kareta drove in low to score despite the presence of Ormond and Clare Coombes.
Following Murray’s missed conversion, ‘Collig had scrum half Mona Fehily sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on. They came under further pressure but props Ormond and Coombes won the ball back via a choke tackle.
Openside Fleming and tighthead Coombes clamped down to win turnover penalties, but the Sutts backs were gobbling up the ground in their efforts to take advantage of the extra player.
Lena Kibler’s breakdown work set up Casey White to take a penalty quickly, the ball working its way into midfield where Buntine broke in between O’Driscoll and Meaghan Kenny for a slick 33rd-minute try under the posts.
Murray added the extras on this occasion, yet Ballincollig hit back just before half-time. Their forwards’ direct carrying sent Sutts backwards and Redmond crashed over beside the posts, with Kareta and Martin unable to stop her.
The try scorer converted to make it a five-point game, that gap remaining in place despite a strong start to the second half from Sutts. A leg-pumping run from Kareta drove them on before O’Brien went close to collecting a Murray cross-field kick.
Seven minutes in, Costelloe’s charges went up a gear when running a penalty. Kareta fed O’Driscoll who attacked a gap between Clare Coombes and Ormond, stepping inside Fehily’s attempted tackle for a snappily-finished score under the posts.
With Murray’s conversion leaving it 19-7, Suttonians soaked up some pressure before a Martin breakout was ended by a knock-on in the tackle from Heather Kennedy. It was deemed a deliberate action and the ‘Collig full-back was sin-binned.
Within five minutes, Sutts had their bonus point pocketed and widened the margin to 17 points. Carrie O’Keeffe and Buntine released O’Brien off a scrum, and the winger cut inside Michelle Stafford and handed off Fleming to score from 25 metres out.
Redmond and fellow replacement Orla Rea were consistently strong carriers for Ballincollig, but the Suttonians’ 22 remained frustratingly out of reach with Louise Catinot earning a penalty at the breakdown.
A few attacks petered out for Sutts too, number 8 O’Keeffe making a break but fumbling the ball in contact. Kennedy reacted swiftly to deny O’Brien a second try, and a Murray pass went straight into touch when they attacked on the opposite wing.
Ballincollig steadied up their scrum and the fleet-footed Kennedy showed how dangerous she can be with ball in hand. She broke the line and showed her strength to make over 40 metres for Fiona Hayes’ side.
‘Collig ran a penalty with less than five minutes remaining, their powerful tight five punching holes – allied to a nifty offload out the back from Eimear Perryman – and number 8 Siguenza was able to reach over the top of a ruck to ground the ball.
However, time ran out on their comeback bid with Suttonians able to dictate play for most of the remainder. Sophie Gibney’s kick through was covered by Kennedy before Barr forced what was effectively a result-sealing penalty.
SUTTONIANS: Sophie Gibney; Meabh O’Brien, Catherine Martin (capt), Annie Buntine, Lena Kibler; Órfhlaith Murray, Amber Redmond; Janita Kareta, Julia O’Connor, Julia Bauer, Brenda Barr, Grainne Tummon, Nicola Bolger, Casey White, Carrie O’Keeffe.
Replacements: Ciara Spencer, Aoife Brennan, Mary Healy, Roisin O’Driscoll, Louise Catinot, Clara Sexton, Moya Kiernan.
BALLINCOLLIG: Heather Kennedy; Sinéad O’Reilly, Christine Arthurs, Meaghan Kenny, Alison Kelly; Michelle O’Driscoll, Mona Fehily; Roisin Ormond, Clodagh Walsh (capt), Clare Coombes, Gillian Coombes, Eimear Perryman, Kira Fitzgerald, Katelyn Fleming, Tiare Siguenza.
Replacements: Denise Redmond, Orla Rea, Laurileigh Baker, Ellen O’Keeffe, Michelle Stafford, Olivia Hay Mulvihill, Ella McCarthy.