Cooke Women 7 (0)
TRY: Lesley Megarity. CON: Grace Davitt.
Galwegians Women 10 (10)
TRY: Emma Clery. CON: Niclole Fowley. PEN: Nicole Fowley.
Galwegians claimed the All Ireland Cup with a 10 – 7 win against Cooke at Anglesea Road on Saturday afternoon. The Connacht outfit’s scores came from a try by Emma Clery, converted by Nicole Fowley, and an early Fowley penalty. Cooke replied with a try from Lesley Megarity, converted by Grace Davitt.
The game started in drizzly conditions with Cooke enjoying the early territory. Galwegians well drilled defence stood firm and the Connacht team worked their way into the Cooke half for a sustained period of pressure.
Despite playing into a stiff breeze the boots of Galwegians’ Clare Raftery and Mairead Coyne kept Cooke in their own half with the Ulster side limited to the occasional break out. One foot rush by Cooke full back Teah Maguire come close, only to be thwarted by the bounce of the ball.
A high tackle from Cooke led to a Galwegians penalty, converted by Fowley, at the end of the first quarter to give Galwegians a 3 – 0 lead and, as Cooke looked to respond, an intercept from Clery on the half way line saw the Galwegians centre sprint clear to touch down under the posts. Fowley added the extras and the Connacht side took a 10 – 0 lead into the break.
The pattern of the game changed somewhat after half time with Cooke fired up and gaining more possession as Isle Van Staden and Grace Davitt came to the fore.
Setting aside my Ulster bias, Cooke were playing the better rugby with the ball in hand but the Galwegians’ defence stood firm and their better kicking game kept most of the action in the Cooke half.
The Belfast outfit worked their way up-field with an impressive series of plays that ended when a break by Davitt sent Megarity through for a try which Davitt converted.
At 10 – 7 after 50 mins the momentum had swung Cooke’s way but within minutes they were down to 14 players as Brigid Collins took one for the team following repeated offences at the ruck.
Despite this setback Cooke continued to take the game to Galwegians but the Belfast side were unable to take advantage of a few overlaps out wide as the ball carrier opted for contact. The remainder of the game fell into the pattern of Cooke working hard yards up field only to find themselves back in their own half after good use of the boot from Galwegians.
Cooke created a couple more chances from deep but couldn’t work a sustained period in the Galwegians red zone and the Connacht side held on for the win, with their defence and line speed claiming the day.
Final Score: Cooke 7 Galwegians 10.
Cooke: Nikki Andrews, Nikita Armstrong, Rachael Beattie, Alanagh Chipperfield, Brigid Collins, Beth Cregan, Shannon Davidson, Grace Davitt, Eliza Downey, Claire Johnston, Laura Johnston, Hanna Kilgore, Teah Maguire, Sorcha MacLaimhin, Helen McGhee, Lesley Megarity, Sarah Melville-Watson, Ali Millar, Caoimhe Rooney, Rachel Totten, Ilse Van Staden, Shirelle Wilson, Natalie Watson.
Galwegians: Mairead Coyne, Noreen Coyne, Nicole Fowley, Emma Clery, Siobhan Daly, Clare Raftery, Mary Healy, Tracey Gannon, Ciara O’Connor, Laura Feely, Katherine McDonagh, Denise Redmond, Marion Doolan, Marion Sheridan, Edel McMahon, Maura O’Brien, Ruth O’Reilly, Ellei Duffy, Celia Killea, Helen Duffy, Laura Ruddy, Trish Coyne.