Second seeds, Ulster, travelled to St Mary’s RFC, Dublin to play third seeds, Connacht, in the semi final of the U18 Girls Interprovincial Championship yesterday.
Report and pictures from Bob Given Photography
Ulster U18 (5) 24
TRY: Farrah McCloskey, Erin Carson, Zara Flack, Rachel McGee
CON: Lucy Turkington (2)
Connacht U18 (12) 22
TRY: Mary McLoughlin, Grace Browne Moran, Caoimhe English McNamara
CON: Fodhla Ni Bhraonain (2)
PEN: Fodhla Ni Bhraonain
Ulster Girls absorbed initial pressure from Connacht and following a break, Ulster winger, Farrah McCloskey, scored an unconverted try in the corner.
Following sustained pressure Connacht scored an unconverted try by Mary McLoughlin on 25 minutes, then took the lead into half time when Grace Browne Moran crossed in front of the posts, for Fodhla Ni Bhraonain to convert, taking the score to 12 – 5 at the break
Early pressure yielded Ni Bhraonain a penalty goal 4 minutes into the second half.
Not to be outdone a back line break and a fine arcing charge by Ulster flanker, Erin Carson, saw her score under the posts. Lucy Turkington added the points and Ulster were back in the game for a short while.
Connacht increased their lead on 50 minutes with a Caoimhe English McNamara try, converted by Ni Bhraonain to lead 22 – 12 and they continued to pile on the pressure. It seemed that the game was slipping away from Ulster.
However, a fine break by Ulster’s Mya Alcorn and slick hands to Zara Flack, allowed the centre to score an unconverted try.
With only a couple of minutes remaining a bollocking charge from near the halfway line saw replacement Rachel McGee score mid way out. Turkington nailed the conversion and Ulster survived the final few seconds to win 24 – 22 to secure a place in the final, where they will meet Munster Girls.
ULSTER U18: Lucy Turkington (Dungannon); Sophie Kinghan (Dundalk), Zara Flack (Enniskillen), Amanda McQuade (Virginia), Farrah McCloskey (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), Rachel McGee (Ballyshannon), Lauren Kilfedder (Enniskillen), Moya Hill (Enniskillen), Mya Alcorn (Letterkenny), Lucy Thompson (Enniskillen).
CONNACHT U18: Caoimhe English McNamara (Westport); Hannah Gullane (Ballinasloe), Fodhla Ni Bhraonain (Corinthians), Meghan Walsh (Connemara), Katie Hogan (Westport); Caoimhe Geraghty (Corinthians), Olivia Haverty (Portumna); Mary McLoughlin (Westport), Emily Gavin (Ballinasloe), Zara Grehan (Ballinasloe), Eva McCormack (Westport) (capt), Aisling Hahessy (Claremorris Colts), Katelyn Bourke (Ballina), Hannah Johnston (Sligo), Grace Browne Moran (Westport). Replacements: Molly Ager (Claremorris Colts), Aimee Kelly (Buccaneers), Leah Hogarty (Ballinasloe), Mollie Starr (Portumna), Aisling Browne (Westport), Alana Roche (Oughterard), Nina McVann (Ballina), Ava Ryder (Westport).