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Rock Women leave it late to beat League Leaders


A three-try second half salvo ensured Blackrock College won the battle of the unbeaten teams as they overhauled Old Belvedere to win 19-10 at Ollie Campbell Park.


ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE WOMEN’S DIVISION: Saturday, October 22

OLD BELVEDERE 10 BLACKROCK COLLEGE 19, Ollie Campbell Park

Scorers: Old Belvedere: Try: Dannah O’Brien; Con:


Dannah O’Brien; Pen: Dannah O’Brien Blackrock College: Tries: Natasja Behan, Mairead Holohan, Méabh Deely; Cons: Méabh Deely 2 HT: Old Belvedere 7 Blackrock College 0



Ben Martin’s charges trailed 7-0 at half-time at Ollie Campbell Park, a dummying Dannah O’Brien, the league’s top points scorer, sniping over for a try midway through the first half. O’Brien kicked a penalty in response to a Natasja Behan try, but Blackrock crossed through Mairead Holohan (60 minutes) and Méabh Deely (75) to secure a hard-fought victory which puts them within a point of the summit.

There was some long ball-in-play time early on, both sides building phases and Jenny Murphy cutting a nice line up into the Blackrock 22 before Laura Feely repelled the hosts with a well-won turnover penalty.

When the ball fell off the tee at her first penalty attempt, Old Belvedere starlet O’Brien showed her quick thinking to embark on a run and almost create a try out wide for fellow Ireland cap Emma Tilly.

Blackrock’s defence stood firm, but an Elaine Anthony lineout steal and a subsequent break by Aoife Dalton had Belvedere hunting down the opening score once again.

Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird was a real livewire, taking a quick tap and also doing well to secure possession a couple of phases later. O’Brien spotted her chance, slashing through to touch down from close range after dummying a pass to Murphy.

After the Tullow youngster added the extras, Blackrock began to get more ball with Enya Breen ripping it back in a tackle. A Tatum Bird interception led to replacement Maeve Liston being put into some space out wide.

However, it was Old Belvedere who should have been further ahead. O’Brien knocked a penalty wide but continued to impress in open play, throwing a superb one-handed offload behind her back to Niamh O’Dowd.

Belvedere’s aggressive defending kept the seven-point gap in place, a Nic a Bhaird turnover penalty closing out of a breathless first half. O’Brien began the second period with a narrow penalty miss.

Eimear Corri, who had stolen an earlier lineout, ignited the Blackrock attack with a break from deep. Six minutes in, Belvedere lost flanker Lesley Ring to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on.

Suddenly, ‘Rock flooded forward, Breen charging up into the 22 via Lisa Mullen’s inside pass. Quick recycling paved the way for captain Michelle Claffey to send out a long skip pass and Behan finished smartly in the left corner.

Belvedere scrambled well to smother out a Holohan break and just before Ring returned to the pitch, Blackrock suffered a yellow of their own when busy hooker Emma Hooban was guilty of a late no-arms tackle on O’Brien.

‘Belvo’s teenage out-half punished some hands in the ruck to make it 10-5, but Blackrock began the final quarter with a terrific surge. It all started with Ali Coleman’s show-and-go and her releasing of Liston from halfway.

Despite being brought down by a combination of O’Brien and Aine Donnelly, the Ireland Sevens international popped up a peach of an offload for the supporting Holohan to go in under the posts.

Deely tapped over the conversion to put the visitors ahead for the first time at 12-10. Although Ring pinched lineout possession for ‘Belvo, the injury-enforced departure of skipper Murphy was a big loss.

Prop O’Dowd was central to earning turnover ball from a Blackrock maul, and the ferocious scrap for possession continued past the 70-minute mark with Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony and Beth Cregan trading turnovers.

Replacement Jackie Shiels then pinned Belvedere back with a well-placed kick, a knock-on giving ‘Rock a scrum in the opposition 22 and they were clinical through the next five phases.

The home defence was sucked sufficiently enough, a neat line of passes from Bird, Corri, Shiels and Liston sending Deely sliding over in the right corner. The Ballinasloe native added a classy conversion as the rain came down heavily.

Old Belvedere still had time to strike back in the dying embers, but they were left to rue a crooked lineout throw from Dabanovich O’Mahony, in worsening conditions, and a final knock-on from the otherwise impressive Nic a Bhaird.

OLD BELVEDERE: Aine Donnelly; Elise O’Byrne-White, Aoife Dalton, Jenny Murphy (capt), Emma Tilly; Dannah O’Brien, Jemma Farrell; Niamh O’Dowd, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Aine Rutley, Caoimhe Guinan, Elaine Anthony, Fiona Tuite, Lesley Ring, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird.

Replacements: Melissa Hayden, Katie Layde, Jane Neill, Clodagh Dunne, Katie Whelan, Emma Kelly, Éadaoin Murtagh.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Ella Durkan; Méabh Deely, Michelle Claffey (capt), Enya Breen, Natasja Behan; Lisa Mullen, Tatum Bird; Laura Feely, Emma Hooban, Shannon Heapes, Eimear Corri, Mairead Holohan, Aoife Moore, Beth Cregan, Ali Coleman.

Replacements: Niamh Tester, Mya Alcorn, Jackie Shiels, Ciara Scanlan, Maeve Liston, Roisin Crowe, Abby Moyles.


Match Report Borrowed from the IRFU website


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