Tullamore Women Vs Mullingar Match report

   03 Jan 2016

Tullamore RFC : 5 Mullingar Heiffers: 5 3rd January 2016 When the Tullamore management were looking for a team to play a friendly match against, to run off some of the Christmas excess, they could hardly have picked a tougher opponent than Mullingar. The Mullingar Women, who go by the name of Mullingar Heifers, are top of Division 1, of the Leinster League. Tullamore Women currently play in Division 2. The match was played in Mullingar on their wonderful 4G pitch, so ground conditions were never a problem, and indeed the day was perfect for playing rugby, no wind to speak of, no rain, and reasonable temperatures. As Expected Mullingar took the game to Tullamore, and it was obvious this was a well drilled side, as they made few handling errors, ran fantastic lines, and they had some excellent individuals, particularly their Outhalf and Fullback. The Tullamore Girls found it hard to get out of their 22’ as Kicks were returned at speed, and Mullingars defense was well organised in keeping the Tullamore line breaks to a minimum. Tullamore defended fantastically. The backrow of Nichola Fryday, Roisin Feighry and Emer Phelan all did a huge amount of work in closing down space, and making the important tackles. The back 3 of Claire Currams, Claire Cantwell and Tara Evans had to communicate well to ensure that a dangerous Mullingar backline could not get over the Tullamore line, and several times they worked well to stop a Mullingar overlap from scoring. Strong ball carries from Ciara Farrell, Chloe Lowry and Grace Flynn gave Tullamore some respite, as they tried to gain a foothold in the Mullingar half of the pitch. Tullamore were well on top in the scrums, and the lineouts functioned reasonably well, but the ruck was frustrating, as several penalties were awarded against Tullamore, after the ball carrier was isolated. However, how many of these penalties were given to the correct team, could be debated, as the Mullingar tacklers did not seem to always roll away. At Half time there was still no score in the game, although Mullingar must have felt confident, given the amount of territory they had enjoyed in the first half. This trend continued in the second half, and once again the Tullamore Girls put their bodies on the line to prevent Mullingar from getting a score. A missed Mullingar penalty attempt only led to more pressure, and eventually a dubious try was scored, when the Tullamore side line thought there was an obvious block by Mullingar which created the opportunity for the Scrum half to score the try at the side of a ruck on the Tullamore line. The conversion attempt was wide of the posts, and then to add insult to injury the ref decided to give a Tullamore girl a yellow card, for a tackle earlier in the play which he deemed to be high. That frustration obviously fed into the Tullamore team, and their determination once again shone through. They dominated the rest of the game, and consistently broke the gain line with smart running lines. They were aggressive and played well together to get over the Mullingar try line a couple of times, although the referee was not in a position to see the ball being grounded, so no tries were awarded. Eventually one of Emer Phelans’ runs from the back of the scrum resulted in a try in the corner to level the game. The conversion attempt was missed, and this was the last action of the game, which was blown up 10 minutes early, as had been agreed by the coaches at half time. Tullamore will be very happy with this outing, as it was a good test against a good side, there are a number of areas which can be worked on, but nothing too critical. The biggest plus was the work rate and communication of all the girls. Missing a couple of regulars, some of the girls were getting their first start in a while, and they showed the strength in depth that is in the squad at the moment. The subs when they came on, brought the same level of intensity, and indeed selection will now be a bigger headache than ever, but what a great headache to have. Tullamores next game is at home to Kilkenny on the 10th January 2016. All support would be greatly appreciated and indeed deservered. So come to Spollanstown next Sunday to see for yourself, how impressive this bunch of girls are. The Tullamore Team was: Vivki Cobbe (Katie O’ Brien 40), Ciara Farrell, Chloe Lowry, Kate Byrne (Veronica Smyth, 40), Katie Murray (Aofie Molloy 40), Nichola Fryday, Roisin Feighry, Emer Phelan, Brigid Hyland, Pauline Keating, Jill Draper, Grace Flynn, Claire Currams, Tara Evans, Claire Cantwell