The inaugural girls' competitive match representing Listowel was done with great style against a well established Abbeyfeale team. Listowel were led by their captain for the day Dearbhla Canty who took on the honour with great leadership and determination.
Listowel RFC tackled bravely, however the more established Abbeyfeale team had the upper hand in the first 10 minutes resulting in a couple of early tries. The home team knew they were in for a tough game but showed they were well up for the challenge. Players like Ruth Sweeney and Ronog Townsend put Abbeyfeale on the back foot with crunching tackles and with Kate Moore and Caoimhe O'Connor securing the ball in the ruck, the home side started to turn up the heat in this contest. Listowel started to produce some great phases which was dictated by scrum half Haley Scanlon who for a player that never played in that position before was playing like a seasoned professional.
Breaks through Abbeyfeale's defensive line were created by great runs from Caoliann Healy who terrorised the opposition with her probing runs. Listowel RFC's historic first try was made all the more memorable as it was a real team performance. It was generated through great phase play with ruck after ruck allowing the girls to move ever closer to the try line. The honour of the try went to Katie Stapleton who showed great awareness and strength to score with an outstretched arm out on the left wing much to the delight of the large crowd of supporters and coaches.
This was just the start of what was a great 'Player of the Match' performance from Katie who worked tirelessly throughout the match with superb tackling and great runs. As the game progressed Listowel grew in confidence with their second try coming from captain Dearbhla 5 meters in from the side line. Sarah Kerins was a real weapon on the wing collecting passes under huge pressure and gaining valuable yards for her team.
Finnoula Trench on the other wing was eager to get involved and found herself in the middle of the action winning vital ball at breakdown. Emma Canty playing full back was called into action making a try saving tackle. Antonia Gleeson came on as a winger and she immediately made an impression with some fantastic tackling. All in all this was a day for the history books as Listowel RFC Girls have made a big statement of intent and that is: 'We are here to stay!!'
Munster Rugby would like to wish Listowel RFC every success with their girls rugby section.
Listowel U18 Girls: Ruth Sweeney, Caoliann Healy, Emma Canty, Sarah Kerins, Katie Stapleton, Ronog Townsend, Dearbhla Canty (c), Nadia Radar, Finnoula Trench, Caoimhe O'Connor, Hayley Scanlon, Kate Moore, Antonia Gleeson.
Listowel U18 Girls Coaches: Karen Mulvihill, Patricia Scanlon; Carol Anne Healy