AIL1 side Galwegians moved into the semi finals of the All Ireland Cup  with a convincing 10 – 31 win against AIL2N side Belfast Harlequins. Though the visitors managed to score five tries to the hosts one a spirited Quins side made their opponents fight all the way for their victory.

Galwegians started strongly and claimed an early try through Heather Cary. Galwegians out half Claire Raftery converted and the Connacht side were 0 – 7 up with less than five minutes on the clock.

However the home side responded well and, despite intense pressure from Galwegians, Quins’ well organised defence managed to keep the visitors out, holding the ball up over the line on three occasions. The Ulster side tried to counter attack through Zenay Jordaan and Nikki Caughey but the powerful Galway pack and their strong kicking game kept the home teamed pinned in their own half.

Photos by John McMurtry, The Front Row Union, of Belfast Harlequins 10 Galwegians 31, Womens All Ireland Cup, Sunday 6th March 2011 at Deramore Park

Carol Staunton Heads for the line for a try against Quins.

Eventually the pressure told and Irish International Carol Staunton broke of the back of a scrum to force her way over the line close to the end of the first half and with Raftery adding the extras the visitors were pleased to be turning round with the score reading 0 – 14 in their favour.

A spirited start to the second half saw Quins get on the score board with a Caughey penalty but Galwegians hit back almost immediately with stylish centre, Grainne Egan, finishing off an expansive move from the visitors.  Raftery missed the conversion leaving the score at 3 – 19.

With the score swinging decisively in Galwegians favour the home team tried to counter attack at every opportunity with Jordaan, Caughey, Ashleigh Baxter and scrappy scrum half Zoe Templeton all making breaks only to be swallowed up by the Galwegians defence and pinned back through the astute kicking of Raftery. From one such kick Galwegians were able to turn over a line out and the impressive Staunton blasted over from close range for her second try of the afternoon taking the score to 3 – 24.

Photos by John McMurtry The Front Row Union of Belfast Harlequins 10 Galwegians 31, Womens All Ireland Cup, Sunday 6th March 2011 at Deramore Park

Nikki Caughey crosses to pull one back for Quins.

With ten minutes to go my “Women of the Match”, Grainne Egan, crossed for her second try, converted by Raftery, to settle the game with the score reading 3 – 31. However Quins had other ideas and in a frenetic finish the classy Caughey got just reward for the home side with a well taken try, which she converted herself. Caughey, Templeton and Baxter were unlucky not to add further scores for the home side before the final whistle.

Belfast Harlequins: Sorcha Chipperfield, Frankie Durieux, Alanagh Chipperfield, Amy Greenlee, Alanagh Chipperfield, Kara Swales, Kathryn Hanna, Jolene Cloughley, Eileen McElroy, Zoe Templeton, Zenay Jordaan, Jenna Stewart, Peita McAllister, Nikki Caughey, Leslieann Stirling, Ashleigh Baxter, Jen Goodall, Sharon Mairs, Annmarie Nolan, Rebecca Francis, Christine Alexander, Christine Robb, Jenny Waide.


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