Gorey girls finish with flourish to defeat Ross in U-16 final
Gorey 24 New Ross 17
A warm and sunny day at Enniscorthy Rugby Club greeted these teams who were both well prepared for this South-East girls' Under-16 rugby plate final, and full of quiet confidence at the end of a busy season.
Having won all three head-to-head encounters in the season so far, Gorey must have looked favourites beforehand, but New Ross started stronger and had soon scored their opening try within five minutes after a lovely line break on the left wing.
However, a determined Gorey weren't behind for long, and a well-rehearsed chip kick through by out-half Danielle Doyle gave Amy Doyle the team's first try after ten minutes.
This was a tough end-to-end game with little between the teams.
New Ross soon came back at Gorey and scored a converted try to leave the score 12-5.
Not long after the re-start, New Ross were in again and the score now stood at 17-5, with an uphill battle facing the Gorey girls.
Although a long way back, strong carries from Holly Molloy and Caoimhe Kenny resulted in a penalty on the five-metre line and a clever tap and go try in the last minute of the first-half by centre Abbie Gibney.
This was converted by full-back Emma Lynch to leave the score at 17-12 at the half-time whistle.
The second-half was a spirited and battling affair, and the game continued to be there for the taking for both clubs.
In the forwards, strong play from Chloe Mulcahy and Aimee Bolger, and numerous picks from Holly Molloy, kept the New Ross defence honest, while in the Gorey backs, Abigail Grouse kept the opposition busy.
End-to-end rugby saw many close chances but, with five minutes to go, the score remained 17-12 to New Ross and the result seemed inevitable.
However, the Gorey girls had a steely determination and some lovely play by the forwards, particularly Caoimhe Kenny, Siobháin Fitzpatrick and Rachel MacArthur, resulted in an outstanding try by Nicola Wright who was rewarded for her huge workrate.
The ever-reliable Emma Lynch slotted home the conversion and Gorey were ahead by just two points for the first time and with just minutes to go.
New Ross came back very strongly, and a knock-on by Gorey from the re-start gave them an attacking platform in the '22.
However, a turnover by Morgan Hargreaves and some strong carrying by Azria Shweihi left Gorey on the New Ross '22 with the clock ticking.
A clever break by Nicole Brookes let to a strong run by Robyn Cousins on the wing, and a perfect pass by scrum-half Deirdre Hoey to captain Abbie Gibney.
With four New Ross defenders to beat and a look of pure determination, the Gorey centre ran a strong line to touch down in the last play of the game.
The final score was 24-17 to Gorey and the delighted girls celebrated their first trophy of the season with young coach Ryan Gibney and manager Jean Kenny.
This was especially important to the team as more than half of them only started to play this year, and the future looks bright for girls' rugby in the south-east.
Gorey: Aimee Bolger, Nicole Brookes, Robyn Cousins, Amy Doyle, Danielle Doyle, Siobháin Fitzpatrick, Abbie Gibney (capt.), Abigail Grouse, Morgan Hargreaves, Emma Kenny, Caitríona Doyle, Deirdre Hoey, Caoimhe Kenny, Keeva Kinsella, Emma Lynch, Holly Molloy, Chloe Mulcahy, Rachel MacArthur, Nicola Wright, Azria Shweihi.