NUIG crowned queens of Connacht after rout
NUIG RFC Women capped off a brilliant season by claiming the Connacht Women's Cup in convincing fashion with a 39-0 victory over Buccaneers at a cold Sportsground on Sunday afternoon.
The college were looking to seal an impressive double after claiming the league earlier in the season and, from the off, always looked in control as they ran in seven tries in all.
Two of those came in the opening 10 minutes as Karen Douglas and Shannen Lane crossed over to give NUIG an 10-0 lead. Two further tries and a conversion before the break brought the score up to 22-0, and, even though Buccaneers started to grow into the game as it went on, they were unable to get on the score sheet before the half-time whistle.
That pressure from Buccaneers continued at the start of the second half, but any hope of an improbable comeback was ended when Amanda Forde touched down for NUIG's fifth try 10 minutes into the second half. From then on it was a case of the college seeing out the game and they crossed twice more to finish up as 39-0 winners.
While Buccs can consider themselves unlucky not to put points on the board, there was little doubt that NUIG were deserving winners.
Prior to that game was the meeting of Castlebar and Tuam/Galwegians in the Connacht Women's Plate final, and the fans in attendance were treated to a 12-try thriller with Castlebar eventually winning 54-22.
Despite the result, it was the combo side that raced into an early 12-0 lead thanks to tries from Amanda Kelly and Andrea Donnellan - the second of which was converted in stunning fashion by Emma Keane.
A Sarah Walsh try opened up the scoring from Castlebar and, from then on, it was the Ursula Sammon show as she touched down three times before half-time thanks to her brilliant turn of pace. Three conversions by Becky Galvin meant the Mayo side led 26-12 at half-time.
Once again it was Tuam/Galwegians who came out of the blocks the quicker after the restart and again they crossed twice in the opening 10 minutes. Deirdre Morney and Cathriona Kavanagh got the tries to leave the gap at just four points.
However, the rest of the game was dominated by Castlebar as they scored 28 unanswered points to sweep to victory in comprehensive fashion. Ursula Sammon got two more tries to bring her tally up to an incredible five, while Darwyn O'Halloran touched down twice in quick succession to extend the lead and make it 54-22 at the full-time whistle.
While the fans in attendance were treated to two entertaining affairs, also in attendance were the two Six Nations trophies. The two cups have made a whistle-stop tour of the province in the past week, with every club getting an opportunity to see the trophies up close.