Dundalk R.F.C. 14
Tallaght R.F.C. 38
Tries: Cíara McLoughlin 3, Roisin Doyle, Audrey Fulham, Aisling Pyke
Conversions: Caoimhe Hogan 4
Women’s League Division 4A
Mill Road, Castletown
In their second game of the Women’s league division 4, Tallaght took on Dundalk, who’ve recently re-launched their women’s team. Tallaght took the lead when out-half Aisling Pyke ran strongly and broke through the Dundalk defence and then fed Cíara McLoughlin who sprinted away from the Dundalk defence to score an excellent try for Tallaght to lead 5-0. Caoimhe Hogan’s attempt at the conversion hit the crossbar and post before unluckily bouncing back out.
Dundalk hit back strongly though and broke though the Tallaght defence and looked certain to score a try but Roisin Doyle came from nowhere to execute a superb tackle and Lorraine Cleary got over the ball to turn it over and Tallaght escaped.
Having shown her defensive skills Doyle then turned her attention to the attack. Taking a ball from Caoimhe Hogan from the ruck, she burst through the defense and showed terrific gas to burn off the chasers to score under the posts to give Hogan a handy conversion to make it 12-0. Things got better for Tallaght after Hogan and Pyke had both gone close off of strong runs. Second row Audrey Fulham, who had looked for ball to carry all day, took a great line ten metres out and showed great determination and strength to get over the line for the try, her first of her rugby career. Hogan’s conversion went wide but at 17-0, Tallaght were well in control of the game at half-time.
To their credit Dundalk came out firing in the second half. From a scrum in their own half, they spotted a gap in Tallaght’s blindside defence and they went all the way to score a try which their excellent kicker converted to make it 17-7. Straight from the kick-off Dundalk ran hard again and went throught for their second try in two minutes and suddenly it was game on at 17-14.
In the past Tallaght teams had crumbled in this situation, but this team refused to panic. Under the tenacious captaincy of scrum-half Caoimhe Hogan, they just buckled down and started working hard again. Aileen McGovern and Barbara Amolo put in strong carries to get them back on the front foot and Caroline Lamba shut down one of Dundalk’s more promising attacks with a trademark monster tackle. They got back into the Dundalk half and after constant pressure, Ciara McLoughlin broke through to score her second try of the match which Hogan converted to make it 24-14.
Playing her first game ever at full back Shauna Power’s had her struggles with the demands of the position, but she showed great character when a ball was kicked her way. She took it first time and ran hard, making good ground and presented the ball perfectly. Hogan got there quickly and after strong carries from replacements Anne Bermingham and Amrs Foy, McLoughlin was put away on the wing to complete her hat-trick of tries. Hogan converted but there was time for another superb score after great carries from the pack put newcomer Rachel Dunne away. She made a superb run and Hogan followed up smartly to put Aising Pyke away to power her way over the line for an excellent team try. Hogan converted the final kick of the game to make the final score 38-14 to send Tallaght top of the table after Swords lost to Longford.
Tallaght coaches Adam Nolan and Mark Keogh were delighted with their team’s performance and the character they showed. “Obviously I’m delighted with two out of two wins” said Nolan “but the real story today was how the team dealt with advertisity”.
“We were in total control in the first half but they shocked us with two tries in two minutes and suddenly it was a three-point game. But I’m very proud of the way the girls re-gathered their composure and just got back to the hard graft again, knowing if they did that, the scores would come.”
“In terms of individual performances Aisling Pyke was immense for us, she ran hard in attack and put in some cracking hits in defence too. Roisin Doyle produced another excellent performance in the second row and Ciara McLoughlin scored an incredible hat-trick to make it five tries in two games for us. But as great as they were it wouldn’t have been possible but for the work of one of our unsung heroes Lorraine Cleary today. She did her bit in the scrum but her work-rate around the park was outstanding and she seemed to be first to every ruck securing our ball to give our brilliant backs the platform to do their thing. She made a number of key turnovers too and also led the defensive line and a made a number of key tackles”.
“As for our team performance, it wasn’t perfect. As a pack we still need to improve our speed to the breakdown or else we won’t keep our ball against more experienced teams and our backs spurned a few good chances today. But overall, it was another excellent performance and we can’t wait for our next game away to Swords in three week’s time.”
Player of the match: Lorraine Cleary
13. Cíara McLoughlin
12. Caroline Lamba
11. Shauna Power
10. Aisling Pyke
9. Caoimhe Hogan (Captain)
1. Lorraine Cleary
2. Aileen McGovern
3. Barbara Amolo
4. Roisin Doyle
5. Audrey Fulham
16. Amrs Foy
17. AnnMarie Riverc
18. Anne Bermingham
19. Rachel Nolan
Report: Jim O’Connor
Photos: Jim O’Connor (Sorry about that….)