Tallaght 14 Tullamore 19

Ellen Crotty

Tallaght R.F.C. 14

Tries: Ellen Crotty 2
Con: Caoimhe Hogan 2

Tullamore R.F.C. 19

Women’s League Division 4
Pitch 100, Firhouse
04/11/2018

Tallaght took on fourth place Tullamore in Division 4 of the Women’s league. Tallaght had been on a run of poor results and Tullamore probably fancied their chances of a handy enough win. However Tallaght were playing with real physical aggression with the likes of Rachel Nolan and Vicky Cobbe carrying strongly in the pack. After Tallaght took the ball through several phases centre Ellen Crotty slipped through a gap and showed great pace and power to race away for a superb try. Caoimhe Hogan kicked the conversion and Tallaght led 7-0.

Tullamore’s young but very well drilled team hit back though. They turned over Tallaght and then kicked into their half. Tallaght tried to get out but couldn’t and eventually the pressure told and Tullamore’s pack forced their way over for a try which they converted to make it 7-7. Tallaght came back at them hard again and backrow Aisling Pyke was in full “Hulk Smash” mode. Pyke was back playing her first match after injury since Longford at the start of the season and she took out her frustrations on Tullamore with a series of crunching tackles.

Wingers Marta Hoppe and Gemma Segrave were also carrying strongly but Tallaght’s good work was often undone by poor passing and by weak rucking which allowed Tullamore to consistently steal the ball. Tullamore made this tell when they outflanked the Tallaght defence and went through for a try which they converted to make it 14-7. Tallaght were under pressure just before half-time as Tullamore were camped on their line but Tallaght defended bravely and held out.

However this good work was undone early in the second half when Tullamore broke through some weak defending to score a try to make it 19-7. At this point Tullamore may have thought they’d streak away for a handy win but Tallaght’s resolve didn’t break and with the likes of Caoimhe Hogan and Eileen Shanahan competing smartly at the breakdown they even won some turnover penalties of their own. Then Ellen Crotty got involved again and first off she completely bounced the Tullamore out-half back in the tackle. From there she just took off and beat several tacklers for another excellent individual try. Hogan converted again to make it 19-14.

Tallaght then suffered a blow when the impressive Rachel Nolan had to be replaced after a knock to the head. As Tallaght had no replacements they went a player down and things got worse when Crotty made another great run and was almost through for a third try but the Tullamore out-half pulled off a superb cover tackle. Crotty unfortunately was injured in the tackle and had to leave the field so now it was fifteen versus thirteen players. This improved slightly after Tullamore picked up a yellow card for an infringement at the ruck to make it fourteen versus thirteen for ten minutes at least.

Tallaght’s never say die attitude was exemplified by full back Megan Fogarty. The Tullamore full back had broken clear with ten minutes to go and looked certain to sore a try to clinch the match. But Fogarty never gave up and she kept chasing what looked to be a lost cause and the pressure she put on caused the Tullamore full back to knock the ball on in the process of touching down.

So the score remained 19-14 but though they tried valiantly Tallaght couldn’t work a winning score and Tullamore were highly relieved to kick the ball out to signal the end of an excellent game of rugby.

Tallaght coach Adam Nolan was disappointed about the result but was hugely proud of his team’s efforts. “We’ve had a tough run recently but we really put it up to Tullamore today. I think with a few better choices at certain times, we actually could have won the game. But I’ve proud of each and every one of the squad cause they all played their heart out. We played a lot of really good rugby at stages but the same issues let us down at key moments and the only way to fix these is by working hard in training. So I hope we have a great week and really prepare well for CYM away next week. Let’s use this performance as a turning point in our season and start playing to the level we know we can. Once we do that we can always walk off the field with our heads held high, no matter what the result.”

Woman of the match: Aisling Pyke

Tallaght

15. Megan Fogarty
14. Gemma Segrave
13. Ellen Crotty
12. Eileen Shanahan
11. Marta Hoppe
10. Cíara McLoughlin
9. Caoimhe Hogan

1. Lorraine McManus
2. Lisa Kennedy
3. Karen Corrigan
4. Seana Greenhalgh
5. Martina Fitzpatrick
6. Rachel Nolan
7. Aisling Pyke
8. Vicky Cobbe

Report: Jim O’Connor
Photos: Paul Cronin

Aisling Pyke

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