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Queen’s University Ladies came up just short losing 12 – 15 in their AIL promotion play of match against Portlaoise RFC at Ashbourne RFC yesterday afternoon.

Queen’s University Ladies came up just short losing 12 – 15 in their AIL promotion play of match against Portlaoise RFC at Ashbourne RFC yesterday afternoon.

There were a few legitimate grumbles with Portlaoise allowed to kill the ball at every opportunity but at the end of the day the young Queen’s side where just out-muscled by their experienced opponents who edged the game with their strong defence and some excellent individual play from their outside centre, a certain Alison Miller!

The student’s plight was not helped with the quickly arranged fixture leading to the unavailability of some key players and with half of the team involved in Ulster training the day before it was little surprise that they started the game sluggishly.

The Leinster side began to get on top, after a cagey start by both sides, and eventually the pressure told with their experienced pack breaking down the right to go over in the corner on the ten minute mark.  The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 5 – 0 but Queen’s responded well and began to work their way into the game.

Unfortunately a series of penalties stifled the students momentum and a string of offences allowed Portlaoise to kick their way into the Queen’s 22 where they upped their intensity and crashed over for their second score in practically the same spot as their first to take the score to 10 – 0 after 20 minutes.

Queen’s dominated the remainder of the half with Imogen Porter and Jemma Jackson combining well to launch the big runners Kathryn Hanna and Colette Broome at the Portlaoise defence. The Leinster side showed their mettle by defending exceptionally well from numbers 1 to 15 and the Belfast side struggled to break them down with the half ending without further score.

Neither side got on top at the start of the second half with the game being played mostly in midfield and it took an exceptional piece of individual play from Portlaoise’s Miller to break the deadlock. A mazy run, full of power and pace, saw the centre break through the Queen’s defence to go over for the Midland’s side at the end of the third quarter and with only 20 minutes left it looked as though Queen’s were out of it with the score reading 15 – 0.

However the students had other ideas and they hit back 5 minutes later with Broome crashing over after good work by Claire McLaughlin and Porter. Jackson added the extras and it was game on with the score reading 15 – 7.

Little changed in the pattern of the game as Queen’s sent in wave after wave of attack with Porter, Janine Mullan and Gemma McCutcheon all coming close but Portlaoise managed to keep them out with some excellent last ditch tackles.

To their credit the Belfast girls refused to give up with Peita McAllister finding the line with 2 minutes to go to take the score to 15 – 12 but the Leinster side managed to disrupt enough possession in the closing minutes to hold on for a deserved win.

Final Score: Portlaoise 15 Queen’s University 12.

Speaking after the game Queen’s Coach Robert Ford commented on the girls performance.

Pictures from the game below.

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