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Munster U18 Girls Fall To Narrow Leinster Defeat

16th February 2024 By The Editor

Munster U18 Girls Fall To Narrow Leinster Defeat

Munster’s Caitriona Finn celebrates with Niamh Crotty after scoring a try ©INPHO

The Munster U18 Girls fell to a narrow defeat to Leinster in the semi-final of the Bank of Ireland U18 Girls Interprovincial Championship at Lakeland’s Park on Thursday afternoon.

Munster will now face Ulster in the 3rd/4th place playoff on Sunday in Buccaneers RFC.

By Des Berry. 

Leinster 22 Munster 14

Leinster’s refusal to stray from their game plan eventually paid dividends in the first semi-final.

This was a titanic struggle between contrasting styles. Leinster played to width whereas Munster had a narrower focus on the breakdown and through the maul.

Abby Healy’s long-diagonal kick took a horrid bounce for Meghan Crilly, allowing Emma Brogan to snatch the ball for a fourth-minute try.

It looked like a taste of what was to come given the wind blowing down towards the clubhouse end.

However, Munster showed technique at the breakdown and composure in the maul to make vital metres.

The ball was moved right for full-back Crilly to split the defence, Caitriona Finn converting for 7-5 in the seventh minute.

Munster’s props Niamh McCarthy and Ella Buckley were willing carriers and Aoife Grimes ruled the lineouts when the throws were straight.

Leinster relied on their passing to offer half chances to Brogan through the middle and Clara Dunne on the left.

Eventually, a succession of phases caused when Caoimhe McCormack burst into the open from a Healy pop pass ended with prop Lily Byrne crashing over for 10-7 at the break.

Munster’s McCarthy began to dominate the breakdown, winning penalties there to provide easy metres.

Out-half Finn angled one of them close to the corner, Grimes claiming the lineout for Tuathla Ryan to drive the ball up and Finn to ghost through a gap, adding the conversion for good measure for 14-10 in the 48th minute.

Everything changed when McCormack powered in behind the first line of defence until a high tackle led to a yellow card for Aoibheann McGrath.

The introduction of Alma Atagamen gave Leinster the force they needed, Dunne shooting up the left wing where Niamh Crotty’s binning meant Munster was down to thirteen.

Atagamen was effective again in drawing in defenders for Kate Noons to ground the try, replacement Meabh O’Hara converting for 17-14 in the 62nd minute.

A brilliant break by Brogan, veering inland from the right was good for 40 metres, the recycle coming smartly enough for Sadhbh Furlong to dive over in the last minute.

Scorers

Leinster: E Brogan, L Byrne, K Noons, S Furlong try each; M O’Hara con.

Munster: C Finn try, 2 cons; M Crilly try.

Leinster

Sophie Cullen (Naas); Emma Brogan (Navan), Sadhbh Furlong (Greystones), Caoimhe McCormack (Mullingar), Clara Dunne (Wicklow); Abby Healy (Wicklow), Alex Connor (Navan, Capt); Kate Noons (Cill Dara), Avril Whittle (Portarlington), Lily Byrne (Skerries), Carla Cloney (Enniscorthy), Rebecca Brennan (Wicklow), Isobel O’Sullivan (Greystones), Aoife Corcoran (Coolmine), Usha Daly-O’Toole (Gorey).

Replacements: Bronagh Boggan (Wexford Wanderers) for Whittle, Emma Jane Wilson (Cill Dara) for Byrne both 43 mins; Sarah Moody (Greystones) for Brennan 49 mins; Meabh O’Hara (Mullingar) for Healy 53 min; Alma Atagamen (Balbriggan) for Daly-O’Toole 56 mins; Sorcha Tierney (Tullamore) for Cullen 59 mins.
.
Munster

Meghan Crilly (Dolphin); Niamh Crotty (Dolphin), Lyndsay Clarke (Ennis), Niamh O’Mahony (Bandon /Ballincollig), Grace Kingston (Bantry Bay); Caitriona Finn (UL-Bohemian/Ballina-Killaloe), Mia Hennelly (Ballina-Killaloe); Niamh McCarthy (Bantry Bay), Emma Dunican (Tralee/Killarney), Ella Buckley (Kanturk/Ballincollig), Sally Kelly (Ennis), Aoife Grimes (Shannon), Aoibheann McGrath (Dungarvan/Carrick-on-Suir), Clodagh O’Keeffe (Ballincollig, Capt), Ava O’Malley (Killarney RFC).

Replacements: Tuathla Ryan (Ballina-Killaloe) for Buckley ht; Buckley for McCarthy, Kiera Murphy (Dolphin) for O’Malley both 58 mins; Orlaith Morrissey (Ballincollig) for Hennelly, Fia Whelan (Killorglin/ Killarney) for Finn both 63 mins; Muireann McCarthy (Bantry Bay) for Dunican 68 mins.

Referee: K Byrne, IRFU.

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