A late, late, penalty from Hannah O’Connor secured the 23 – 22 win for Blackrock against Tullamore in this mid table All Ireland League clash at Stradbrook.
The first half was a dour affair with too many handling mistakes from both sides. However, after a brief flourish from Tullamore, Blackrock, guided by experienced international Tania Rosser, enjoyed the bulk of territory and possession.
The industrious Ann-Marie Rooney broke the deadlock midway through the first half, running in from the 22 to give Blackrock a 5 – 0 lead. Shortly after the powerful O’Connor powered over down the left to double the home side’s advantage.
The second half was a much more entertaining spectacle, with both sides improving dramatically. Tullamore reduced the arrears to seven points with an early penalty from Pauline Keating but Rock hit back almost immediately to increase the margin with O’Connor crossing for her second to push the score to 15 – 3.
A purple patch from Tullamore saw the Offaly outfit awarded a penalty try for a high tackle on their full back and, moments later, they took the lead when Ciara Farrell crossed for their second try, converted by Keating.
It looked as though momentum had swung the visitor’s way but the old heads at Rock stayed calm and they drove back up the field for O’Connor to claim her hat trick with a spectacular dive in the corner to take the score to 20 – 17.
However Tullamore had their tails up and they came straight back down the pitch for Farrell to blast over for her second to give Tullamore a 20 – 22 lead with minutes left.
The game had one final twist however with Tullamore conceding a penalty from the restart and up stepped, our Player of the Game, Hannah O’Connor to knock over the penalty, from distance, to give Blackrock a 23 – 22 win.
The result sees Blackrock leapfrog Tullamore to 5th in the All Ireland League, Tullamore dropping to seventh following Galwegians win against Cooke.
Picture credit – John McMurtry: The Front Row Union