Tuesday 24 October 2017

Wicklow win titanic tussle with Tullow

Wicklow Women 17 Tullow 15

Rachel Griffey receiving her Bank of Ireland Player of the Month award from Bank of Ireland’s Maebh Litton at Ashtown Lane on Sunday
Rachel Griffey receiving her Bank of Ireland Player of the Month award from Bank of Ireland’s Maebh Litton at Ashtown Lane on Sunday

This was a highly-contested game between two teams who left nothing on the pitch.

Wicklow came into this game with something of an injury crisis especially in their forwards.

It was to their huge credit that they fronted up to last season's division finalists and, eventually, wore them down.

Wicklow kicked off and pressed early but to no avail.

Tullow worked their way up the middle and on 10 minutes their impressive outhalf broke two tackles and ran home from 30 metres. The try was converted, 0-7.

Wicklow forwards came back with renewed determination.

With Caitlin Griffey dominating the line-out and her sister Rachel and Lauren Barry impressive in the loose, Wicklow started getting good possession.

After a driving attack from halfway, Ciara Patrick took the ball going left, sold two dummies and sliced through traffic to score a terrific try, Ciara converted her own try, 7-7.

The rest of the half was played between the 22s. The match was getting more physical with more stoppages and penalties.

The Tullow number 12 was yellowed carded for multiple penalties by her team on 30 minutes.

Tullow used their hard running No 8 to gain territory. The battle between her and Wicklow's 8 Rachel Griffey was critical to the outcome.

After another burst up the middle by her Tullow were awarded a penalty on the 22, and converted to leave the score 7-10 at half-time.

The restart was miskicked by Tullow, which gave the Wicklow forwards a chance to advance.

Repeated attacks were repelled by Tullow, with handling errors costing Wicklow scores.

Tullow's outhalf made Wicklow pay for some sloppy attempts at tackles when she picked and broke from a ruck on the Wicklows 22 to cross for a try.

The conversion was missed (crucially for Wicklow), 7-15. Wicklow's women were not done yet.

They went back up the pitch and won the restart.

Captain Megan Parkinson secured the ball and started off on a mazy run deep into the Tullow half.

The ball was recycled twice before Ciara Patrick and Sara Gleeson combined to release Alana Sheridan arriving at pace wide on the right.

Alana drew the last defender before standing her up and sprinting outside to score a tremendous try. Ciara Patrick made the conversion, 14-15.

Tullow were now noticeably tiring and the last 20 minutes of the game was played mostly in their half. A number of kickable penalties were eschewed before Ciara Patrick landed the winning kick with 10 minutes to go, 17 - 15.

Afterwards Maebh Litton from Bank of Ireland's Wicklow Branch presented the first Bank of Ireland player of the month award to a deserving Rachel Griffey.

After a disappointing outing last week, Wicklow's players and coaches should take great satisfaction from this determined performance. The girls now look forward to a well deserved break next Sunday followed by Clondalkin away on Sunday the 15th.

Wicklow's first ever J2 game took place directly afterwards when the Wicklow Senior Women's Second XV took the field against a powerful Portlaoise side.

This game was the first ever at this level and is an important step in the continuing growth of the Women's game in Wicklow RFC.

The team went down fighting on a scoreline of 7-36 but there was lots of positive performances from a number of new and squad players who showed real potential.

The squad will be letting their hair down at the Hawaiian Cocktail night in the club on Saturday night which is being run in conjunction with the senior men's teams to raise funds for the club development fund.

All are welcome to what should be a great night from 8.30pm.

Wicklow People