7 Dec, 18:36
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The reigning champions made hard work of the game with uncharacteristic errors throughout, but their experience and great defending ensured that the cup returned to Limerick once more. The final score was UL 7 UCC 5.
UL started strong with out-half Laura O Mahony making several breaks and looked dangerous with ball in hand. UL’s starting team consisted of 8 players who joined the team this year, many of whom had never played before. They got the chance to step up to the mark due to many familiar faces unavailable to play due to injury, illness or Co-op. Many of these new players shone including freshers; Oonagh O’ Brien, Aoife Bennett and Emma Wilson to name a few. UCC too had many new faces but it was their captain Eimer Galvin and centre Amy O Callaghan who stood out throughout.
UL dominated possession throughout the game but simple mistakes allowed UCC to capitalize and put some pressure on a strong UL defence. UL’s Full Back Aoife Bennett got sin binned before half time for infringing at the ruck but UL soaked up the UCC pressure for the remainder of the half and regrouped at half time. UL finally broke the deadlock ten minutes after half time when they piled on the pressure on the UCC line.
The hard work paid off when UL were awarded a scrum for a UCC infringement. UL Captain No 8 Fiona Reidy picked from the base of a solid scrum and off loaded to Laura O Mahony who spotted a gap and sneaked in under the UCC posts. Scrum Half Ailish Toner converted putting the score at 7-0 in UL’s favour. UL’s concentration lapsed from the restart and a series of errors by UL resulted in UCC mauling over the UL line for their first try of the game through Eimer Galvin. UCC then were reduced to 14 as Amy O Callaghan was binned for a high tackle.
UL fought an immense battle for the remainder of the game; they defended excellently and were determined not to be shaken by the UCC onslaught, they held out to win by 2 points. UCC battled to the very end It was a good test of character for a UL team which has dominated Ladies Rugby at college level in Ireland for the past decade. It was a closely fought match to round off a season which was marred by unfulfilled fixtures which resulted in a lack of games.
UL Team: Leah Barbour, Claire Lewis, Gwyneth Davidoff, Sarah O’Sullivan, Oonagh O’Brien, Mary Rose Flanagan, Kristie O’Brien, Fiona Reidy (C), Ailish Toner, Laura O’Mahony, Kelly Dwyer, Anna Nolan, Claire Keoghan, Emma Wilson, Aoife Bennett. Replacements: Aoife Dumphy, Clodagh Lacey, Sarah Jane Cody, Bronagh O’Donovan, Aimee Reid.