New Chapter In Birr Rugby History As Club Hosts First Women’s Leinster League Game

Thursday, 10 November 2016

THE U18 women's team won their first ever league match on Saturday in Birr when the beat a brave Dundalk side after a thrilling game of rugby in Division 2A of the Leinster League.
The game got off to a terrible start for the Birr team who found themselves behind by 14 points in as many minutes after the concession of a couple of converted tries to a rampant Dundalk team. At this early stage things were looking very bleak for the home side with only last ditch tackling preventing further scores. However, following minor "surgery" in the back line and the introduction of Niamh Campbell to fullback, the tide started to turn slowly in favour of Birr and when centre Frances Hoare ran in from distance for a well taken try, it was now game on.
The concession of a third try following some sloppy defensive work by the Birr team put Dundalk in front on a score line of 19-5. However this did not deter the Birr girls who were now playing some good constructive rugby with both backs and forwards causing all sorts of problems for the Dundalk defence and it was not too long before this pressure paid off with outhalf Sarah Harding going over for a great team try just before the halftime to leave the score at 19-10 in favour of Dundalk at the break.
In terms of attitude and commitment, It was an all together different Birr team in the second half as they went about dismantling the Dundalk challenge. After weathering a spell of intensive pressure on their own line which Birr defended in a heroic manner, they forced a Dundalk knock on five meters from the the Birr line. From the resultant scrum the Birr number nine Cathriona Byrne gave a perfect floated pass to fullback Niamh Campbell who ran all of 60 meters, handing off would be tacklers before she was tackled to the ground.
Good support running kept the ball alive and Birr scored the try of the day with winger Sian Cooke going over for a great try. Unfortunately the conversion was missed but now it was only a two point game.
The pack of forwards consisting of Chloe Gorman, Niamh Mullarkey, Ebony Hogan, Laura Sampson, Karina Stankute, Ally Harding, Leah Scully and Grainne Heagney were now rampant around the pitch, their rucking, tackling and carrying of the ball was straight of the training ground and they were driving Dundalk back at a rate of knots.
With the Birr forwards lording it over their opponents the back line were now on the front foot and further tries were to follow from outhalf Sarah Harding and fullback Niamh Campbell.
We were now seeing some good running lines, passing movements and solid defensive work from all the backs namely Cathriona Byrne, Michelle Carroll, Orlaith Plunkett, Alana Roddy (playing her first game of rugby and giving a great performance), Sian Cooke, Ellen Robinson, Niamh Cleare and Sarah Harding. Strong running centre and star performer Frances Hoare (just pipped Sarah Harding on the day) closed proceedings with her second try at the final whistle to seal a famous 40-24 victory over a brave Dundalk team who battled to the very end.


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