Cork outfit Ballincollig returned home with the spoils following a 12 – 36 win against Malone in an entertaining All Ireland Junior Cup match at Gibson Park on Sunday afternoon.
The match was closer than the scoreline suggests with the Cork side pulling away in the last quarter. However, the Malone team were unable to contain ex Ireland International Geraldine Rea, the abrasive and talented out half causing problems throughout.
Ballincollig kept Malone pinned in their own territory for much of the first half with Rea calling the shots. Breada Leonard crossed twice to give the visitors a 14 – 0 lead, after both tries were converted by Rea.
Malone enjoyed a reasonable share of possession but were largely unable to take advantage of the space behind the Ballincollig defensive line until a late break up field and a succession of penalties ended with Jasmine Ward crossing for the home sides opening score.
The try went unconverted and the teams turned round with the score reading Malone 5 Ballincollig 14.
The home side started the second half strongly and a searing break by Ella Durkin ended under the posts for a try which she converted herself to take the score to 12 – 14. The Malone outh half nearly repeated the dose minutes later only to be hauled down yards sort of the try line.
Ballincollig cleared the ball and worked their way back upfield where a punishing break by Rea saw the visitors cross for their third score and, minutes later, winger Steffen Corkery burst out of a tackle on the half way line to sprint clear to take the score to 12 – 26 at the end of the third quarter.
Malone attacked for much of the final quarter but they were unable to break down the abrasive Ballincollig defence, with Rea in particular putting in some big hits.
The visitors broke out for two more tries to seal the game, Rea and Corkery both crossing.
Final score: Malone 12 Ballincollig 36
Picture credit – John McMurtry and Brittany Hogan.