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Tries Aplenty On Final Day Of U-18 Girls Development Interpros

Tries Aplenty On Final Day Of U-18 Girls Development Interpros

Centre Katie Corrigan, one of Leinster's try scorers, takes on the Munster defence during their game at Lakelands Park ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Terenure College RFC was the venue for the concluding round of fixtures in the Under-18 Girls Development Interprovincial Series, with a quick turnaround from last Sunday’s matches.

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It was a final chance for players to put their hand up for selection with April’s Under-18 Six Nations Festival, which will be held at Wellington College in Berkshire, drawing ever closer.

The Connacht Under-18s looked like a well-oiled green machine, scoring eight tries in a very impressive performance as they ran out 50-5 winners over Ulster.

Similar to their defeat of Munster at the IRFU High Performance Centre last weekend, the Connacht backs provided most of the highlights. They played at high tempo, running relentless attacking lines.

The hard work of their forwards, especially captain Sarah McCormick, contributed to that crucial ruck speed, creating lots of quick ball, and mixed with the speed out wide, it made for wonderful viewing for the neutral.

Siofra Hession, Roisin Maher, Hannah Clarke and Sarah Purcell scored their first half tries, and the westerners kept their foot on the accelerator during the closing period.

The always dangerous Clarke and Purcell ran in a brace each, with flying winger Emily Foley getting a try to adding to the one she scored last Sunday. Number 8 Poppy Garvey stormed through the middle to score under the posts for their final effort.

Despite the result, Ulster never gave up the fight, showing great spirit right until the final whistle. Head coach Neill Alcorn would have been pleased with their endeavour throughout.

Number 8 Cara McLean and centres Scarlett Keys and Tara O’Neill, their skipper, all put in big shifts for the Ulster girls. Hooker Seonaidh Douthart got over for their only try in the final play.

Connacht head coach Craig Hansberry was very pleased with their two performances during this Development Series, agreeing that his back-line has that something special.

“It’s a great result. The girls have been brilliant in the last couple of weeks at training. They just seem to be enjoying it and we want them to be enjoying playing as much as possible,” he said afterwards.

We’re playing a nice brand of rugby where we are moving the ball from side to side, and when we are scoring tries it’s always fun.”

Meanwhile, the day’s second clash between Leinster and Munster was an extremely competitive encounter between two physical teams. It was a back-and-forth battle and finished in a hard-fought 29-22 triumph for Leinster.

Munster winger Lyndsay Clarke opened the scoring with an intercept try against the run of play, but lock Alma Obehi Atagamen swiftly powered over from close range to get the Blues off the mark.

This was followed up by a lung-busting Katie Corrigan, who gobbled up the metres to dot down under the posts. The athletic Abby Healy got the wheels in motion for the try, as her well-timed sidestep opened up the space.

The sides exchanged more scores before half-time, with a Caitriona Finn penalty cancelled out by Leinster’s third try from the fleet-footed Robyn O’Connor. Ken Imbusch’s charges levelled with a converted try from Finn.

However, the Leinster U-18s edged back in front by the break, taking a 22-17 lead after Corrigan’s centre partner Caoimhe McCormack muscled her way over from a couple of metres out.

The second half was an attritional affair, with plenty of tackles being made by both defences. Beth Buttimer was a standout for Munster again in both defence and attack, while Atagamen and Orla McDonald led from the front for the opposition pack.

A period of Munster pressure was rewarded when Clarke completed her brace in the right corner. They went in search of a potential match-winning score, but the blue wall stood firm this time.

Indeed, it was Leinster number 8 Orla Wafer who brilliantly stormed off the back of a late scrum to go under the posts and clinch the result in her team’s favour.

Like Connacht, Leinster maintained their winning form during the midterm break. Their head coach Mick Bolger was happy with the character shown throughout the two games.

“We spoke a lot during the week after the Ulster game about the attitude and character we brought into it and specifically that character when things are going against us,” he said.

“We conceded a try in that second half, but I think in general we defended really well and we won it in the last play of the game.”

The addition of the Development Interpros to the calendar provided the Under-18s with an extra opportunity to play for their province and it seems to have been quite a success. Bolger thinks the more the girls get to play the better.

“I’d be in favour of it, the more we can give these girls higher level opportunities the better. Maybe it’s a pipedream but hopefully there is more of this going forward,” he added.

To go from a couple of years ago where they were just playing in blitzes to a proper Interpro and now an Interpro with a second window. The more they are in the shop window the more and more they can develop.”



CONNACHT 50 ULSTER 5, Terenure College RFC
Scorers: Connacht: Tries: Siofra Hession, Roisin Maher, Hannah Clarke 2, Sarah Purcell 2, Emily Foley, Poppy Garvey; Cons: Keanah Irons 4, Grainne Hahessy
Scorers: Ulster: Try: Seonaidh Douthart

CONNACHT: Hannah Clarke; Keanah Irons, Molly Boote, Sarah Purcell, Emily Foley; Siofra Hession, Grainne Moran; Ella Burns, Ella Greene, Roisin Maher, Grainne Hahessy, Sarah McCormick (capt), Jemima Adams Verling, Beibhinn Gleeson, Poppy Garvey.

Replacements: Ellen O’Toole, Ellie Filan, Nadine Fitzmaurice, Rhona O’Dea, Merisa Kiripati, Megan Connolly, Ailbhe Gannon, Cavina Maloney.

ULSTER: Elle Corkey; Katie Gilmour, Scarlett Keys, Tara O’Neill (capt), Erin McConalogue; Leah Irwin, Megan Creighton; Isabelle McNally Grant, Seonaidh Douthart, Sophie McAllister, Lucy Calvin, Ruby Starrett, Jessica Wilkinson, Keeva Corry, Cara McLean.

Replacements: Clara Mackle, Molly Reid, Olivia Black, Alexandra Boyd, Katie McAllister, Beth McBurney, Orlaith Breen, Nicole Hetherington.

LEINSTER 29 MUNSTER 22, Terenure College RFC
Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Alma Obehi Atagamen, Katie Corrigan, Caoimhe McCormack, Robyn O’Connor, Orla Wafer; Cons: Abby Healy 2
Munster: Tries: Lyndsay Clarke 2, Caitriona Finn; Cons: Caitriona Finn 2; Pen: Caitriona Finn

LEINSTER: Robyn O’Connor; Emma Brogan, Katie Corrigan, Caoimhe McCormack, Niamh Murphy; Abby Healy, Eve Prendergast; Emma-Jane Wilson, Kelly Burke, Hope Lowney, Anna Mai O’Brien, Alma Obehi Atagamen, Georgia Young, Orla McDonald, Orla Wafer.

Replacements: Bronagh Boggan, Emma Counihan, Melissa Quirke, Ellen Dunne, Ciara Short, Julie Nolan, Amy Rushton, Clara Dunne.

MUNSTER: Fia Whelan; Lyndsay Clarke, Catriona Finn (co-capt), Gráinne Burke, Órna Moynihan; Megan Crilly, Rebecca Rogers; Lily Morris, Emma Dunican, Tuathla Ryan, Amelia Greene, Aoibheann McGrath, Saskia Wycherley (co-capt), Clodagh O’Keeffe, Beth Buttimer.

Replacements: Ava O’Malley, Sofia Carty, Ella Buckley, Sadie Murphy, Aoife Grimes, Grace Dillon, Katie Hehir, Siobhan O’Callaghan.

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