Malone welcomed Wicklow to Gibson Park on Saturday evening for their second Women’s All Ireland Conference fixture.
Malone started strongly with Lauren Maginnis to the fore, with a couple of bruising runs, and it looked as though they would take control of the game when Sophie Armstrong crossed out on the right for the opening try after 9 minutes.
However, some misguided attempts to run the ball from all areas led to a few handling errors in an overcrowded midfield and Wicklow took full advantage to spend some time in the Malone half. The pressure told and, after a couple of dabs at the Malone line, Wicklow’s centre Emma Curran made the breakthrough to cross for the equalising try on the 23rd minute. Beth Roberts added the extras to give Wicklow a 5 – 7 lead.
Malone’s propensity for flooding their midfield with forwards wasn’t doing them any favours and their lack of enthusiasm for grinding out the hard yards around the edges of the breakdowns saw them resort to a series of quick, tapped, penalties which brought them some success when Shirelle Wilson caught Wicklow on the back foot and sprinted clear to score Malone’s second try on the 29th minute. Ella Durkin knocked over the conversion to take the score to 12 – 7.
Wicklow continued to press for the remainder of the half and were rewarded with a late penalty from Roberts to take the score to 12 – 10 as the teams changed ends.
The second half was pretty scrappy as a light rain started to fall. Malone looked to have two or three good overlaps but couldn’t find the passes and, as the half progressed, the Wicklow pack began to make some big gains up the centre of the park with their No 8 Kathy Byrne prominent.
Overall though it was pretty even, the main difference being that Wicklow took the points on offer with Roberts landing the winning penalty on the hour mark.
Malone: Holly Brannigan, Sophie Armstrong, Emma Jordan, Ella Durkan, Fern Wilson, Peita McAlister, Shirelle Wilson, Sarah Murphy, Ashleigh Currie, Chrissie McKee, Hannah Beattie, Rebecca Smyth, Emma Taylor, Chloe McIlwaine, Lauren Maginnes. Replacements: Cara O’Neil, Jo McMorris-Cloughley, Anna Smith, Nicole Rafferty, Jill Stephens
Wicklow: Meagan Parkinson, Tamara Breen, Victoria Elmes Kinlan, Sarah Gleeson, Megan McConnell, Beth Roberts, Erin McConnell, Kathy Byrne, Noelle Ward, Lauren Barry, Jessica Schmidt, Laura Newsome, Emma Curran, Emily Ryan, Niamh Ni Dhroma. Replacements: Niamh O’ Leary, Eimear Douglas, Caitlin Griffey, Saoirse O’Reilly