UCD Women’s 1st XV found themselves on the road to Carlow IT again, as they kicked off their cup campaign. After narrowly snatching a win in the dying minutes of our last encounter, the Collidge girls knew Carlow would be seeking revenge.
After captain Sarah ‘Saz’ Glynn won the toss, UCD set up to receive, and the ball was gathered by Alice ‘Beans’ O’Dowd, who put in a strong carry to get UCD off to a good start. A lack of organisation from the UCD pack led to a turnover, however minutes later Emilie ‘The Demon’ Dumon made a superb steal, with savage carrying from Ev Fenlon and Cara Donovan.
UCD pack were now working well around the park, with excellent set pieces, including winning two Carlow scrums. This was complemented by excellent kicking from Heather Cullen and Ali Coleman. After a Carlow penalty didn’t make touch, it was skilfully regathered by Aoife ‘Shox’ O’Shaugnessy, which in turn led to a break from professional speedster Roisin ‘Croisin’ Crowe. She was tackled by the Carlow fullback just short of the try line, and a knock-on a few phases later saw a missed opportunity for the girls in blue.
Another knock-on from Carlow saw UCD pack dominate in the scrum, with excellent hands out to our backline ensured metres were made. After Ray Lawless won a penalty on the 22, the ball made its way to O’Dowd, who charged at the Carlow defence, before offloading to new Cap Meadhbh O’Callaghan. UCD were in control of the game and held most of the possession.
However, ill discipline allowed Carlow to get a foothold in the game, winning a series of penalties, and eventually crossing the try line; 7-0. The Collidge girls were reduced to 14 players after O’Dowd saw a yellow card for a high tackle. UCD didn’t let this affect them and put in a huge defensive effort to win a crucial penalty near their own try line, with great tackles from Emma Costello, and recent winner of our ‘Player of the Year’, Christine ‘Shoulders’ Coffey. Another successful lineout won by Hannah Woods saw clean ball out to O’Dowd, now back on the pitch and eager to make up for her temporary absence. After a powerful carry, the ball landed in the hands of Ray Lawless, who accelerated to touch down in the corner, unfortunately not converted; 7-5.
Good pressure and line speed from UCD after half time forced a knock on, and UCD continued to put pressure on the Carlow side. A late tackle on Ali Coleman led to penalty on our 22. Another great lineout from the pack got the ball out to Meadhbh O’Callaghan, who offloaded to allow Crowe and Coffey make serious metres, with Coffey eventually touching down in between the posts. She duly converted; 12-7.
After UCD lost possession, serious line speed from Coffey forced a knock on, only for ill-discipline in the breakdown to cost UCD the ball again. Good defensive effort on own 22, with big tackles from Sarah Woodmartin and Hannah Woods. However good hands from Carlow backline sees their winger break our line. A try saving tackle by O’Shaugnessy was deemed high, and UCD were once again reduced to 14. Carlow capitalised on this, and their pack crashed over the line for their second try, leaving both sides 12-12.
With the clock ticking down, UCD went hunting a winning score. Hannah Woods managed to disrupt a Carlow line out inside 22 but ball goes into touch. UCD scrum continues to hold up under pressure, with great work from Sadhbh McDonnell off the bench. Great carries from fresh legs Clare Coombes, Siobhan Tangney and Sinead Gallagher, and intelligent play from winger Aoife Byrne allowed UCD to make metres, but alas it was not to be, Carlow won a crucial penalty as the clock ticked over to 80mins, kicking into touch. FT 12-12.
A hard-fought match, with moments of excellence from both our pack and backline, but ultimately ill-discipline cost us the win. We crucially come away with 2 points a-piece for the draw, and look onto our next match with NUIG, at home on 20th Feb.
Congratulations to our new Cap Meadhbh, here’s to the first of many! Also, a very warm welcome back to Aoife Byrne, recently returned from a collarbone injury sustained playing in Canada this summer.
UCD Team (1-23): 1. Meadhbh O Callaghan 2. Sarah Glynn (C) 3. Cara Donovan 4. Hannah Woods 5. Ev Fenlon 6. Emilie Dumon 7. Emma Costello 8. Alice O’Dowd 9. Heather Cullen 10. Ali Coleman 11. Ray Lawless 12. Christine Coffey 13. Roisin Crowe 14. Sarah Woodmartin 15. Aoife O’Shaughnessy 16. Sadhbh McDonnell 17. Brontë Magee Baker 18. Sinead Gallagher 19. Siobhan Tangney 20. Clare Coombes 21. Jessie Bauer 22. Aoife Byrne