Portarlington Ladies travelled away to Westmanstown last Sunday to play Garda in the first round of the Provincial Cup. Portarlington were targeting this game as Garda play in AIL Division 2.
LADIES RUGBY PROVINCIAL CUP
In the end Portarlington were very unlucky to come away on the wrong end of the result after putting in a terrific effort against a quality Garda side.
The game started a dull affair as the two teams looked to get the measure of each other. Portarlington dominated much of the early exchanges but failed to convert this pressure into scores. Garda gradually worked their way into the game but Portarlingtonwere defending well.
When Portarlington did get the ball some poor handling put paid to any progress made. But Garda indiscipline let Portarlington back into the game and outhalf Catherine Bennett was unlucky to have a penalty kick hit the post in the last few minutes of the first half
Garda played the ball back down the field where the Portarlington defence looked to have dealt with it. However a failed clearance kick resulted in the Garda backline regaining possession. The half should have been over at this stage but Garda ran the ball and scored in the corner. The conversion was missed and the half time score 5-0 to the home side.
Some strong words from coach Gordon Matthews resulted in a Portarlingtonresurgence after half time.
Promise Chapwanya broke through the gain line with a great run however without support the ball was turned over. This was the beginning of a Garda onslaught that seen Portarlington pinned down in their own 22. From an attacking scrum the Garda outhalf crossed to the blind side and used the overlap to easily score.
The score was now 10-0 with 55 minutes gone. Portarlington were chasing the game and increased the intensity of play with some great work from the pack. Quick picks and goes up the far side of the field were putting the Garda defence under pressure.
An impressive line off the ruck by Sarah Johnson seen her streak away from the defence and score under the posts. Martina Russell was accurate with the boot and Portarlingtonwere now only 3 points behind.
The two sides traded kicks as Portarlington looked to get out of danger and Garda looked to pin the visitors in the 22. The game ended 10-7 to the home side and although Portarlington can be critical of some facets of play, their effort was commendable. As the group draws to a close at the end of March, Portarlingtonmay feel that this game was the one that got away.
Portarlington: Martina Russell, Sarah Johnson, Caoilfhionn Culliton , Promise Chapwanya, Martina Dunne, Catherine Bennett, Kate Tynan; Kim Tully, Leanne Caulfield, Geraldine Dunne, Lindsay Graham, Andrea Broughan, Evelyn Browne, Laura Oakley, Olive Guest. Subs: Kim Dempsey for Leanne Caulfield