17 Apr 2016

Tullamore U18 girls – Leinster Champions.
Tullamore 32 – Portlaoise 18.
It has all being about the women in Tullamore Rugby Club for the last two weeks. The Senior Women claimed the Leinster League Division 2 final last week against C.Y.M. and last Saturday it was the turn of the U18s and the U15s to bring home the Silver-wear to the Club. Womens and girls rugby is only three years going in the club and going from strength to strength.
The U18 Squad of thirty one travelled to Donnybrook on Saturday expecting a very tough match against a Portlaoise team that has only lost two games in the last three years, and with names like Irish U18 7s international Emeair Corry and Leinster regulars of Emma Hoobin and Louise Scully. However Tullamore having beating them earlier in the league by 7 – 0 knew while there is nothing in it that if they played their best they could bring home the spoils.
In front of the large support Portlaoise opened the score with a well taken penalty by Emma Hoobin when Tullamore were deemed to have high tackled. From the kick off Tullamore put pressure on when Emma Kirwan had a great run up the side line resulting in a ruck in the corner and the ball was passed out the line for Moya Griffin to score under the posts. Portlaoise came back at Tullamore and put huge pressure on the Tullamore line. Phase after phase of attach was defended by the Tullamore girls and at one stage Ellen Molloy managed to rob the ball from the Portlaoise player and kick it out to relieve the pressure. Ellen Molloy picked up a knock after some great tackles and was replaced by Ellen Duffin. However they could not keep the determined Portalose girls from scoring in the corner when Emma Hooben put five more points on the board. Tullamore added two more tries before the break in two very good moves – Alice Coonan spotted a chink in the Portlaoise defence when Portlaoise expected her to pass the ball out and instead she dashed through to put down. Roisin Kane added the conversion. Roisin herself got the last score before the break when Tullamore were applying pressure with forwards and back combining to pin Portlaoise back in their own half. The attack was just out from the post the with some great backs moves the ball was first let out on the blind side to come back across the field with great hands that any senior team with be proud off for Roisin to put down in the corner. At half time the score was 17 -8.
Tullamore opened the second half with a penalty by out-half Megan Burns when Portaloise were deemed to have hands in the ruck. Portlaoise were not going to concede and having picked up two tries by Emeair Corry and with the conversion to draw the game, halfway through the half, the Tullamore supporters and management were living on their nerves. Portlaoise were not successful with the conversion and with fifteen minutes to go it was all to play for. Like she did all season Shannon Touhey tapped a quick penalty and caught the Portlaoise team off guard to put another five between the teams. The deteriorating weather made handling very difficult and when Shannon Touhey put in a massive tackle on one of the Portlaoise attackers the ball spilled into Emma Kirwans hands who off loaded to Megan Burns to run half the length of the pitch to score. Megan added the two to give a cushion of twelve point and there was great jubilation when the referee blew for full time.
This was a great team performance and there were many hero’s on the field. Kate fox was kept busy throughout the match at full back and together with her pace merchant wingers of Roisin Kane, Orlaith Foxe and Katriona McInarney when she was introduced in the second half had inspirational breaks throughout the match. Emma Kirwan and Shannon Touhey (captain) were commanding in the centre running precisely calculated lines that cut the Portlaoise defence. Out-half Megan Burns and Aisling Magner controlled the tempo of the game excellently and like all good scrum halves Aisling bossed the pack all day. Jane Waters was introduced and her excellent passing helped win quick ball for the backs to run on to. The back row of Ellen Molloy, Alice Coonan and Ella Duffin and Elaine Casey and Rachel Dunne, when they were added to freshen up the pack, dominated ruck time giving Tullamore a strong foothold in the game. The line out throwing and jumping excelled, and the many hours that Couch Pat Tierney put in paid off. Tullamore’s front five won the game-line battle with big performances from Michelle Femi Agbetuyi, Moya Griffin, Shauna Keane, Annie Kelly and Saidhbh McIntrye. When Clodagh Thompson and Lydia Coyne were subbed in, it was seamless and they were unlucky not to start. Tullamore’s Bench made a big impact on the day and was probably the difference between the teams.
Huge well done to the management team of Odhran McIntre, Denis Magner, Pat (Rash) Tierney and Susan Bagnall.
Squad – Michelle Femi Agbetuyi, Megan Burns, Elaine Casey, Alice Coonan, Lydia Coyne, Ella Duffin, Rachel Dunne, Ciara Flynn Murphy, Kate Fox, Orlaith Foxe, Amy Galvin, Moya Griffin, Sarah Gunning, Katie Hanlon, Niamh Hickey, Roisin Kane, Shauna Keane, Zara Kelly, Annie Kelly, Emma Kirwan, Aisling Magner, Katriona McInarney, Saidhbh McIntrye, Aoibheann McKnight, Ellen Molloy, Sarah Jane O’Connor, Abigail Plunkett, Clogagh Thompson, Shannon Touhey (Captain), Kayla Tucker and Jane Waters.