I made the 11 hour round trip to Abbeyfeale RFC to cover this historic clash between , newly formed, Kerry RFC and, AIL newcomers, Ballincollig RFC in their first round Community Series match in the Munster Conference.
Unfortunately, it was a cold, dank and breezy day in Co Limerick and the match didn’t quite meet the occasion, both teams a bit rusty.
This game was their first proper hit out since March and in difficult enough conditions quite a few moves didn’t reach completion. However it was a well contested game with plenty of endeavour from both teams.
The first half was particularly scrappy. Kerry had the advantage of the stiff breeze blowing up the pitch and they raced to an early lead with Laoise O’Driscoll knocking over an early penalty.
Meabh McElligott heads for the line for Kerry’s first try.
Ballincollig responded and worked their way downfield for a period of pressure in the Kerry half but a break out by Kerry’s Meabh McElligott ended with the youngster going over out wide for the games opening try. The conversion was missed leaving Kerry with a 8 – 0 lead.
The visitors looked to their pack and, once more, they worked their way into Kerry territory. This time they came back with the points, outhalf Christine Brien-O’Sullivan crashing over, after a period of pressure on the Kerry line, to take the score to 8 – 5.
Christine Brien-O’Sullivan scored for Ballincollig.
The remainder of the half was mostly staged between the two 10 meter lines either side of halfway but, with scrum half Muirne Wall constantly probing the defence, Kerry managed to make further inroads for O’Driscoll to send over two penalties to take the score to 14 – 5 at half time.
Given the conditions you would have expected Ballincollig to enjoy the lions share of territory in the second half but the enthusiastic Kerry defence forced a few mistakes and kept Ballincollig pinned in their own territory.
O’Driscoll was the first to reap the reward with the Kerry outhalf crossing for their second try before the sprightly McElligott bagged a brace with a try out wide minutes later. The two scores went unconverted giving Kerry a 24 – 5 lead.
Ballincollig worked hard to get across the line in the closing stages but the Kerry defence held firm to claim their historic win.
The Front Row Union Player of the game.
Our player of the game goes to former Railway Union player Lisa-Marie Murphy who’s calming presence with the ball in hand gave Kerry cleaner possession to work off.