St Marys College V’s Carlow Coyotes
Templeville Road. KO 1pm
The St Marys Women were back on home turf following an away win against Mullingar last week to see them 19 points clear at the top on the table. The ladies in blue showed no mercy from the kick off which would be the start of a lengthy period of play in the Coyotes half. High wind conditions called for conservative play but proved not to be a problem. Marys started with intent, showing off some great hands and strength to break through tackles. It was after the 10th minute when Niamh Fitzgerald breached Carlow’s line to start the scoring leaving it 5-0 to the home side following a controlled scrum on the 5metre line. The pack showing their dominance throughout the 80minutes from set pieces to open play. From the restart Marys were eager to get the ball back into the Coyotes half with some great runs from Ciara Scanlon and Christy Haney. The ball found Liz Brophy who thundered through to put another 5 points on the board for Marys. The score stood 10-0 and the Ladies in blue found themselves in possession after failed attempts by the Carlow ladies to break the line from an Emma Hooban tackle causing a turnover. Sarah Duignan was quick off the mark with a kick to space for winger Ana Hernandez to make a run, only for the ball to bounce into the dead-zone. The Carlow ladies would breathe a sigh of relief as they kick out. The pressure eventually got the better of the Carlow ladies and forced errors for the Marys XV would win them a scrum for not releasing. Yet another penalty yielded from the scrum and with Marys showing great composure to kick for a line out and Emma Kiernan to throw in for the blues.
Carlow now in possession quick work saw the Carlow ladies break through the half way line, and after a 25-minute spell of defending, the ever so powerful line by Mary and excellent tackling by Melissa Hayden and with Emma Kiernan clinical in her rucking as always, the ball was won back by to the home side. The pack showed some great runs and carries from second rows Emma Lackey and Sarah Callaghan kept St Marys powering up the pitch. High winds would not stop the strong hands of the home side. Ciara Scanlon and Casey O Brien would prove to be a force not to be messed with, showing great switches foot work eventually leading to another try.
A yellow card saw the exit of injured Niamh Fitzgerald in the 40th minute. This wouldn’t be the last piece of action to bring it to half time. Quick thinking from Emma Kiernan saw her break the white wash after scrum half Aoife Thompson and Sarah Duignan combined to create the space.
Half time would see in introduction of Leah Hayden for Emma Hooban and Shayne Richardson for Ana Hernandez, as well as the introduction of Karen Plunkett as replacement for the injured Niamh Fitzgerald in the 48th minute. Marys continued efforts were soon rewarded as Liz Brophy would cross the line for the second time would see the blues 22-0. The Coyotes looked for way to break down Marys but was soon stopped by some excellent tackles made by Shayne Richardson and Karen Plunkett.
Carlow insistence finally yielded with some great running from their backs the Coyotes brought the scored line back to 22-5. Laura Power replaced Melissa Hayden in the 65th minute and Amy Moran would replace Liz Brophy on the wing. With fresh legs on both sides renewing defences the teams spent the remaining time trying once again to breach the opposition line. The score remained 22-5 at the final whistle leaving St Marys Women with the bonus point going in to the final regular season league match against Edenderry. Next week the team take on AIL league leaders UL Bohs in Limerick in the quarter Final of the All Ireland Cup.
By Michelle Carroll