Fine first for New Ross
New Ross 24 Portdara 17
New Ross Rugby Club welcomed home their first-ever Leinster League-winning ladies recently.
These Under-18 players were victorious over Portdara in the Premier 2 final which took place in Navan in front of a large New Ross following.
The New Ross girls came into the game as underdogs as Portdara were clear favourites on paper after large wins over all Premier 2 teams during the year.
However, this didn't deter the New Ross side in any way and only assisted them in the run-up to the game.
New Ross started with a much higher intensity than Portdara, and Kathryn Dempsey surged in for her first try, having been given a good platform by a determined pack.
The Portdara number 8 was a formidable player and combined with a mobile back line to put New Ross on the back foot at times.
New Ross battened down the hatches around the gain-line and followed their gameplan which was to give Portdara as little time on the ball as possible and change attacking angles as often as they could.
Scrum-half pocket rocket Jessica Sutton scored on the 25th minute with an outstanding pick and go while being tackled by three Portdara players after a focused twelve-phase period of play near the try line. This score was converted and Ross led by 12-0.
An ever-resilient Portdara breached the New Ross line just before half-time with a well-worked try which left a scoreline of 12-5 in favour of Ross.
New Ross started the second-half with as much determination as the first and again went over for a try within ten minutes of the re-start, after a line-out catch from Aoife Murphy led to the formation of a driving maul which enabled Jennifer Dunne to break blind side and dive over the Portdara line.
Portdara soon scored their second try under the posts with a line break from their outside centre which was converted. The score was now 17-12 to New Ross.
The New Ross pack led by their captain, Ella Dalton, had played like a mobile dynamic unit all day and had yet again forced another turnover which released inside centre Kathryn Dempsey to score her second try under the Portdara posts. This was also converted and New Ross now led by twelve points with ten minutes to go.
Portdara fought for the game the whole way to the end and finished with a consolation converted try which was quickly followed by the referee's final whistle to scenes of jubilation from the New Ross team and their many supporters. The final score was 24-17.
New Ross coaches John Cullen and Derek Furness congratulated the girls after the game on the momentous win for themselves and their club and told them that this achievement had only been made possible through their self-belief, focus and the many nights of tough training in all weather conditions.
They also reiterated the importance of support networks within the club and families, and the tiresome work and determination put in by Deborah McGrath who has spearheaded girls' rugby in New Ross.
New Ross: Niamh Buggy, Elizabeth Whelan, Kathryn Dempsey, Sinéad Clancy, Jessica Sutton, Kaylan Shanahan, Molly Crowdle, Eimear Lynch, Caitlin Mernagh, Ella Dalton (capt.), Tara Murphy, Sarah Larkin, Chelsea Tobin, Courtney Caulfield, Hannah Furlong, Aoife Murphy, Jennifer Dunne, Aoife Brennan, Tara Furness, Ciara Corish, Millie Power.
New Ross Standard