16th November, 2010
(Match report courtesy of UCC)
UCC Ladies team braved the elements Tuesday last to take on a physical Galway side which featured Irish international Carol Staunton. The game kicked off at a frantic pace but continuous downpours and gale force winds forced a sloppy game. College had much of the possession in the first half but only managed to cross the try line once with what was a typical forward try from scrum-half Mona Fehily. UCC’s only interprovincial player this year Amy O’Callaghan who plays her club rugby with Highfield and provincial with Connaught slotted over the conversion with ease. 7-0 to college and the rain did not alleviate. The force of the wind was well and truly showing its impact on the game when NUIG’s out half failed to kick the required ten yards at the re-start.
The Galway side threatened the UCC try line on numerous occasions through the Ireland No.8, Carol Staunton. Her ability to spot gaps and break UCC’s defensive line proved a major difficulty for the home side throughout the game. The Galway side were infuriated frequently as colleges Sinead Cremin showed her strength around the rucks to win the ball back at vital moments. UCC’s captain Eimear Galvin gave an outstanding display of rugby leading the team out of the danger zone.
At the break the rain and wind did not lessen in any way as spectators rushed to their cars for shelter. There was no such luxury for these two determined sides as they faced back into what was evidently storm weather to try and collect the much coveted 4 points and sit on top of the division 1 league table.
UCC’s Karly Fairman and Louise Buttimer displayed fantastic pace on the wings as they gained vital ground for the home side. Each dashing sprint was well supported by an organised UCC side, protecting the ball at each break down. College’s fast hands allowed the back line to break through NUIGs defence and it wasn’t long before UCC were again inches from the try line. The pack once more showed immense strength as UCC’s Zoe Grattage set up a maul which was driven over the line by the ever courageous pack and touched down by colleges No.8. With the wind now against the home side the conversion was missed.
As Galway pushed back downfield an impressive tackle made by UCC’s out half Ali Askins broke down yet another attack. A further ruck was turned over, and a fast pass to centre Niamh McGrath on the blind side set her sprinting for the try line. Onlookers would have thought UCC were heading for the third try but a superb last ditch tackle from NUIG’s Alison Nolan forced Niamh in her debut game to knock the ball on. This was to be the last play of the game and saw UCC Ladies collect all 4 points in what was a vigorous battle in a bid to reach this year’s final and dethrone current champions UL.