Martina Fitzpatrick

Longford R.F.C. 5

Tallaght R.F.C. 20

Tries: Cíara McLoughlin, Martina Fitzpatrick, Rachel Nolan, Megan Fogarty

Women’s League Division 4A
CPL Park

The Tallaght women’s team travelled to CPL Park to take on Longford in Division 4A of the women’s league. Because this fixture was rescheduled and some players had already made other commitments, Tallaght were stretched for numbers to the point where they only had two forwards.  So Caroline Lamba, Jacinta Purcell and Aisling Pyke had to fill in up front. By contrast Longford had lots of big, experienced forwards and they set out their gameplan early to pick and drive their way through Tallaght. Early in the match they were camped on the Tallaght line but led by the fearsome Rachel “The Terminator” Nolan, Tallaght drove Longford back in the tackle and eventually forced a knock on.

Once they got the ball, Tallaght showed they were dangerous out wide. Aisling Pyke made a strong break and then great passing from Caoimhe Hogan, Audrey Fulham and Shauna Power put Cíara McLoughlin away for an excellent team score to give Tallaght a 5-0 lead. It wasn’t long before Tallaght struck again and after strong carries from Hogan and Nolan, Martina Fitzpatrick showed good opportunism to force her way over the line for a try and a 10-0 lead.

Unfortunately Aisling Pyke picked up a nasty concussion earlier in that move and had to be removed from the field. With no subs Tallaght had to play the match with one less player than the home team but they didn’t let it affect them and they just got on with it. Longford owned the ball for the rest of the half and were camped in the Tallaght twenty two. Despite their numerical disadvantage Tallaght’s defence was unbreakable with Nolan, Fitzpatrick, Jacinta Purcell and Caroline Lamba making countless big hits. Despite the unrelenting pressure Tallaght survived and were relieved to kick the ball out for half-time.

In the second half Tallaght had the wind at their backs and Caoimhe Hogan used it well to kick Tallaght into good field positions in the Longford half. Having been so strong in defence Rachel Nolan showed her ability in attack too when she burst through a tackle and sprinted away for a try to make it 15-0. It wasn’t long before Tallaght were on the scoresheet again, this time it was Megan Fogarty who sprinted clear to score in the corner to make it 20-0. Tallaght did have a few more chances and Hogan was held up over the line near the end. To their credit Longford kept slogging away and they scored a try with the final play of the match to make it 20-5 at the end.

Tallaght head coach was delighted with how his players reacted to adversary. “The players deserve to feel very proud of themselves tonight. They showed immense character to deal with the physicality Longford threw at us, especially after we lost Aisling so early in the match. Rachel Nolan was immense for us today, she must have made around thirty-plus tackles and nearly all of them were smashers. Martina Fitzpatrick had a hugely accomplished game and her experience and leadership was vital. Our skipper Caoimhe Hogan was also very good in both defence and attack. However we won that game on our defence and our line-speed and tackle quality was fantastic. Every single member of the team did their bit and kept backing their teammates up.  So we felt we couldn’t pick one woman of the match, so we’re giving the award to the entire team”.

Woman of the match: The entire team

Tallaght RFC

15. Megan Fogarty
13. Cíara McLoughlin
12. Rachel Nolan
10. Caoimhe Hogan (Captain)
9. Shauna Power

1. Caroline Lamba
2. Audrey Fulham
3. Martina Fitzpatrick
4. Jacinta Purcell
5. Aisling Pyke


Report: Jim O’Connor

Photos: Ann Kavanagh

Aisling Pyke

Caroline Lamba

Rachel Nolan