Ulster U18 Girls got their Interprovincial campaign off to a winning start with a 12 – 17 victory against Munster U18 girls at Irish Independent Park, Cork on Saturday afternoon.
It was a scrappy enough game, at the start of the Interprovincial Series, but Ulster’s excellent effort in defence saw them through in a match that could have gone either way.
Munster U18 (12) 12
TRY: Penalty Try, Aoibhinn O’Loughlin
CON: Penalty Try
Ulster U18 (7) 17
TRY: Farrah McCloskey, Rachel McGee (2)
CON: Moya Hill
Arriving slightly late, it was nice of the Ulster players to wait until I got the camera equipment setup before scoring their first try. Munster had enjoyed the early territory and possession but a break from Ulster was finished off by a jinking run from the impressive full back Farrah McCloskey who crossed out wide for the opening score after 12 minutes. Centre, Moya Hill added the conversion to give Ulster a 0 – 7 lead.
Munster hit back almost immediately, in a style that will have pleased their coach, Fiona Hayes, by taking a driving maul all the way to Ulster’s line before being awarded a penalty try to even the game.
An intercept try by Munster’s Aoibhinn O’Loughlin put Muster ahead, on the half hour mark, after some laboured passing from the Ulster back line was too easy to read.
With no further score the home side took a 12 – 7 advantage into the break.
Ulster upped their game in the second half they pretty much dominated the rest of the proceedings. The hard working India Daley led the way, and picked up our Girl of the Game nomination. Supported by captain Ava Fannin and vice captain Ella Garland the Ulster pack began to get on top and they had Rachel McGee in the back line who was able to take advantage with two second half tries.
The Ulster pack stormed the Munster line from the start of the second half and after three lose chances it was McGee who managed to work her way over, after good work from Daley and Fannin, to level the game at 12 – all five minutes into the second half.
Twelve minutes later the powerful centre was at it again, this time sything through the Munster defence to score the match winner.
A tense final fifteen minutes ensued and Munster certainly had their chances as they broke from deep on both sides of the park. However excellent cover from Zara Flack and Emma Ryan kept the Ulster line intack to give the Northern Province a deserved win.
MUNSTER U18: Vivienne O’Donovan (Skibbereen), Aoife Corey (Ennis), Saskia Morrissey (Kilrush), Alana McInerney (Ennis), Aoibhinn O’Loughlin (Ennis), Emma Connolly (Skibbereen), Courtney Duhig (St. Mary’s), Eileen Gleeson (Nenagh Ormond), Sarah Murphy (Kanturk) (C), Erika Kiely (Carrick-on-Suir), Eilish Cahill (Ennis), Aine Enright (Listowel), Aaliyah Te Pou (Shannon), Faye Dowling (Fethard & District), Eimear Minihan (Skibbereen). Replacements: Rebecca Collins (St. Mary’s), Chloe Ann O’Driscoll (Skibbereen), Niamh Thornton (Skibbereen), Marea Walsh (Shannon), Alex O’Sullivan (Skibbereen), Clodagh McMahon (Kilrush), Roisin Houlihane (Ballina/Kilaloe), Jennifer Fogarty (Fethard & District).
ULSTER U18: Farrah McCloskey (Enniskillen), Sophie Kinghan (Dundalk), Zara Flack (Enniskillen), Moya Hill (Enniskillen), Lucy Thompson (Enniskillen), Toni Macartney (Larne), Sarah Shrestha (Dungannon), Ella Garland (Cooke), Aoife Cahill (Malone), Ava Fannin (Virginia) (capt), Kim Johnston (Dungannon), Taryn Schutzler (Malone), Sophie Barrett (Enniskillen), Erin Carson (Malone), India Daley (Enniskillen). Replacements: Cara O’Neill (Malone), Hannah Cooney (Malone), Delyth Cook (Ballyclare), Samantha Cassidy Campbell (Ballyclare), Rachel McGee (Ballyshannon), Lauren Kilfedder (Enniskillen), Emma Ryan (Virginia), Jenna Corkey (City of Armagh).
We caught up with Ulster’s vice captain Ella Garland and try scorers Farrah McCloskey and Rachel McKee after the game.