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Clovers Close Out Celtic Challenge With Draw In Llanelli

Clovers Close Out Celtic Challenge With Draw In Llanelli

Young lock Ruth Campbell was part of the Clovers team that drew with Edinburgh in today's double header at Parc y Scarlets ©INPHO/Leah Scholes

Early second half tries from Clare Gorman and Clara Barrett had the Clovers on course for a final Celtic Challenge win, until Edinburgh’s Rhona Lloyd struck in the dying seconds for a 12-all draw in Llanelli.


Sunday, March 3 –

CLOVERS 12 EDINBURGH 12, Parc y Scarlets
Scorers: Clovers: Tries:Clare Gorman, Clara Barrett; Con: Kate Flannery
Edinburgh: Tries: Briar McNamara, Rhona Lloyd; Con: Nicole Marlow
HT: Clovers 0 Edinburgh 7

Playing on Welsh soil for the first time, the Clovers dominated most of the first half but had no scores to show for it. The closest they came was when Connacht starlet Barrett was held up.

Instead, it was second-placed Edinburgh who led 7-0 at half-time. A terrific late try from centre Briar McNamara edged them in front, rewarding their defensive efforts to keep Denis Fogarty’s charges out.

With captain Dorothy Wall growing in influence and Kate Flannery bringing impact off the bench, Gorman (44 minutes) and Barrett (52) both touched down as the Clovers put a dozen points on the board.

One more score might have been enough for Wall and her team-mates, but Edinburgh, who had won 35-21 when the teams met previously, drew level right at the death through Great Britains Sevens player Lloyd.

A lively but scoreless opening quarter saw the Clovers have most of the territory. Nicole Fowley was prominent as her chip over the top was gobbled up by Barrett, before the Ireland out-half’s scooped pass out to Alana McInerney was ruled forward.

Fogarty’s side built momentum from a fine counter-attacking run from Aoife Corey, with Ruth Campbell’s well-timed offload sending Ivana Kiripati raiding back up to the opposition 22. Niamh O’Dowd’s charge put them in scoring range, before Edinburgh forced a maul turnover.

The Scottish outfit stood up to two successive mauls from the Clovers, who unfortunately lost the ball forward the second time. Busy second row Campbell redeemed herself shortly afterwards with a lineout steal.

Cieron Bell, who has impressed for Edinburgh throughout the campaign, made metres with a number of her carries. Ailsa Hughes clawed back that territory with a sniping run, yet the Edinburgh defence was able to absorb the subsequent pressure again.

Hughes set up a well-executed kick chase from Gorman that earned the Clovers a five-metre scrum. A flurry of carries led to young centre Barrett crossing the try-line, but the match officials adjudged that Adelle Ferrie had prevented a clear grounding.

Alex Stewart’s turnover penalty helped Edinburgh to get back past halfway, and their first visit to the Clovers’ 22 produced a score. McNamara used scrum ball to slice through midfield and get past full-back Corey for a classy solo try, which Nicole Marlow converted.

Flannery came on after the break and made an immediate impact, pinning Edinburgh back with a cracking 50:22 kick. Bell did just enough to stop replacement Beth Buttimer from scoring in the right corner following a short lineout move involving Wall.

Nonetheless, Wall shifted to number 8 and linked with Hughes off a subsequent scrum, creating an opening for winger Gorman who neatly stepped inside the cover to reduce the arrears to just two points.

The fast-breaking Hughes and her forwards quickly beat a path back to the Edinburgh 22. Gorman crossed again, only for a forward pass from Corey to chalk off the try. The Clovers did manage to take the lead just a few minutes later.

Flannery’s right boot caused problems for the retreating Bell, who failed to collect the bouncing cross-field kick and it was Barrett, having switched to the right wing, who swooped in to ground the ball. Flannery expertly drew over the tough conversion too.

The Clovers continued to play in the right areas of the pitch, with Corey threatening on a break but lacking timely support. A good exit kick from McNamara, coupled with a turnover penalty won by Natasha Logan, brought Edinburgh back downfield.

The Scots were now winning the breakdown battle with more regularity. When they got within striking distance, Clovers replacement Claire Bennett came up with a big turnover before the chasing McInerney tackled Lloyd into touch.

Crucially, Edinburgh piled forward late on with quickly-taken penalties. Replacement Zoe Turner kept the tempo high, and Lloyd got outside Flannery to score from the edge of the Clovers’ 22. Marlow had a kick to win it, but her conversion from near the left touchline fell short.

TIME LINE: 39 minutes – Edinburgh try: Briar McNamara – 0-5; conversion: Nicole Marlow – 0-7; Half-time – Clovers 0 Edinburgh 7; 44 mins – Clovers try: Clare Gorman – 5-7; conversion: missed by Kate Flannery – 5-7; 52 mins – Clovers try: Clara Barrett – 10-7; conversion: Kate Flannery – 12-7; 80 mins – Edinburgh try: Rhona Lloyd – 12-12; conversion: missed by Nicole Marlow – 12-12; Full-time – Clovers 12 Edinburgh 12

CLOVERS: Aoife Corey (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster); Clare Gorman (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Clara Barrett (UL Bohemian RFC/Connacht), Kayla Waldron (Railway Union RFC/Connacht), Alana McInerney (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster); Nicole Fowley (Galwegians RFC/Connacht), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster); Niamh O’Dowd (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster), Megan Collis (Railway Union RFC/Leinster), Ruth Campbell (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster), Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) (capt), Jane Clohessy (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster), Brianna Heylmann (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster), Ivana Kiripati (Tuam/Oughterard Colts RFC/Connacht).

Replacements used: Beth Buttimer (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) for Kiripati, Kate Flannery (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) for Fowley (both half-time), Michelle O’Driscoll (Ballincollig RFC/Munster) for Gorman (49 mins), Róisín Ormond (Ballincollig RFC/Munster) for Collis, Faith Oviawe (Railway Union RFC/Connacht) for O’Leary, Muirne Wall (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) for Hughes (all 63), Grainne Burke (Ennis RFC/Munster) for O’Dowd, Claire Bennett (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) for Clohessy (both 67).

EDINBURGH: Nicole Marlow (Cardiff Met); Rhona Lloyd (GB Sevens), Nicole Flynn (University of Edinburgh), Briar McNamara (Watsonian FC), Cieron Bell (University of Edinburgh); Sarah Denholm (University of Edinburgh) (capt), Leia Brebner-Holden (Gloucester-Hartpury/Cheltenham Tigers); Poppy Fletcher (University of Edinburgh), Aila Ronald (University of Edinburgh), Molly Poolman (Watsonian FC), Adelle Ferrie (Corstorphine Cougars), Natasha Logan (University of Edinburgh), Merryn Gunderson (Corstorphine Cougars), Alex Stewart (Corstorphine Cougars), Freya Walker (Watsonian FC).

Replacements used: Nicola Haynes (Saracens) for Ronald (53 mins), Lucy Kidd (Corstorphine Cougars) for F Walker (61), Hannah Walker (University of Edinburgh) for Bell (67), Alison Wilson (Heriot’s Blues) for Fletcher, Katie Lindsay (Corstorphine Cougars) for Poolman (both 72), Zoe Turner (Corstorphine Cougars) for Brebner-Holden, Hannah Ramsay (Corstorphine Cougars) for Denholm (both 74), Sam Taganekurukuru (Stirling County) for Ferrie (77).

Referee: Jenny Davies (WRU)