Student Sport Ireland/IRFU Women’s Rugby League UCD 29 UL 15 (away)
UCD travelled to Limerick in the freezing elements to take on UL, last year’s league champions.
With UCD receiving, Alice O’Dowd quickly got the match underway with a fantastic carry well into the UL half. The pressure kept coming with phase play off forwards ball however just as the backline were set to attack, UCD were penalised at the breakdown.It didn’t take long for UCD to pile back on the pressure with dominant carries from No.8 Siobhan Tangney and flanker Sinead Gallagher putting the girls in a great attacking position. Winger Ali Coleman was first to cross the line. (5-0)
Following from this came a period of very stop-start play with both teams forcing penalties and turnovers much to their frustration. Scrumhalf Heather Cullen slowed play and displayed an excellent box kick putting UCD deep into the UL 22. From this position UCD were dominant in set plays and won the ball leading to Alice O’Dowd crossing the line. Christine Coffey added the extras (12-0).
UL were quick to bounce back showing UCD why they are the defending champions and managed to cross the line with an advantage play after UCD infringed at the breakdown again. (12-5)
Positive UCD defence proved imperative with Christine Coffey and Ali Coleman linking up in the backline to destroy the UL attack, keeping them back in their own half.
In the worsening wind, UCD were penalised for a crooked throw and UL quickly capitalised crossing the whitewash for the second time. (12-10)
Half time UCD 12-10 UL.
After a tiring period of defensive effort in the second quarter which led to the home side
getting in two unconverted tries, UCD led heading into the second half, determined to hold onto their lead with wise words from captain Sarah Glynn to give a big performance with an emphasis on discipline and defence.
Unwilling to let the UL Wolves claw their way back into the game, the girls in blue dug deep and showed their grit, determination and quality.
Several turnovers at crucial moments, including an excellent line out steal from Clare Coombes, and a well-timed intercept from Ev Fenlon ensured from the offset, UL never gained momentum.
A moment of indiscipline saw a penalty come UCD ‘s way which scrumhalf extraordinaire Heather Cullen quickly and intelligently capitalised on, floating a pass into the hands of Alice O Dowd as the UL defensive line scrambled to reorganise themselves, allowing her to crash in over the line. (19-10)
Now joined on the pitch by Ray ‘Speedy’ Lawless replacing Ali Norman who put in a huge shift on the wing, UCD went hunting another score. Strong carries from Alix ‘the tank’ Cunneen and Hannah Woods who has recently returned from injury, saw the UL defence sucked in. A fantastic passage of play saw Ev Fenlon fancily offload to O’Dowd, who in turn flung it out to speedster Ray Lawless, recently returned from representing Ireland in the Tag World Cup in Australia. Lawless however was unluckily
caught just before the try line, but not to fear, Nikki ‘beef and lamb’ Kennedy was on hand and dotted down beyond the line, a great end to a short but distinguished career in Collidge blue. (25-10) Best of luck to Nikki as she heads back to New Zealand.
UL however came back with a vengeance and crossed the white wash once more, leaving the score at 24-15 with 20 minutes to go. An excellent defensive effort ensured this was UL’s final score with Munster warriors Christine ‘Shoulders’ Coffey and Aoife ‘Shocks’O’Shaughnessy deserving notable mentions for their savage tackle efforts. Ali Coleman added another try to her first half effort, leaving the final score at 29-15.
A brilliant day for UCD Women’s Rugby to go down to Limerick and get such an empathic win, and a great end to our Semester 1 campaign. The focus now turns to our cup competition as we seek to firmly establish our status as a dominant force in college rugby.
Many thanks to all our wonderful players, coaches and supporters this semester, best of luck in exams #ADASTRA
Alice O Dowd