January 18, 2019

Leinster women's League Div 2

Sunday 13th January 2019

Shay Murtagh Park

Mullingar 15

Clondalkin 26

by Finian Coghlan

Oh, this one hurt, but for all the right reasons.

Struggling as they’ve been for this transitional season, the Herd dug something out of deep on the breezy carpet on Sunday and put on their best display in two years, only for minor naiveties and a fairly handy visiting side to stymie the joy out of what most definitely was a turning point for this band of monsters.

Every one of the 15 who turned up turned up with an hearts on fire, and they pummeled Clondalkin into bench emptying,  but unfortunately just not enough to leapfrog their nearest league rivals.

Double veterans Farrelly and O’Brien led the masterclass, but both smiled quietly at the next star to be forged from the white heat as Eadaoin Liddy dazzled like a Layde or a Kelly as she bossed over two tries and left more colour on Clondalkin bodies than half a dozen tanning salons turned to eleven.

Unsurprisingly, the skipper of UL was awarded Woman of the Match – to go alongside the one she won in the National Collegiate Final against DCU last March – as she proved once again that her AIL brother Donal is only the second best player in the Liddy household.

But to be fair, I don’t just want to be blowing smoke up this singular aperture, as her teammates left the lot out there in pursuit of a game that just seemed to be a frustrating fingernail too far.

Flood, Feery, Lafferty, Daniels and Duncan all put in shifts of brilliance in the same pantheon, and if they click at all again like this somebody’s in for a right little stonking before time is called on the season.

And yet, it all started in the worst possible fashion, after Mullingar pfaffed about the responsibility of simply taking the kick-off and gifted the visitors a 5m scrum in the opening exchange from which they crossed for the opener just two phases later.

But this is where they were measured, and into the teeth of a very meaty gale, the Herd set about rescuing this game.

Inch by tortuous inch they battled on, as Farrelly and Feery played SatNav and showed the way.

It took all of half an hour to earn arrival in the Clondalkin 22 and they got there on the back of a fabulous Leanne Duncan intercept and 50m gallop.

With Liddy like an Exocet at anything in yellow, Mullingar stayed in the neighbourhood, before Duncan and Daniels weaved some magic to the 5m line and a conceded defensive penalty.
Canny Farrelly chose quickly, and fed  the Lid who barged through three and left her side just two behind into a huge wind.

Clondalkin were woken up by this and had one last drive in the half to the Mullingar line, but were stopped in the corner by an extraordinary McCormack tackle tidying up her own bad clearance, and her posse went to the break just two down and the breeze to look forward to.

The ageless Claire O’Brien led the new counter, and twice in the first 10 minutes Daniels went close as Mullingar pushed for the lead.

But in the 11th minute disaster struck against the run of play when their Leinster centre stole an intercept and went full gallop.

Though she was masterfully hauled to ground by Wynne on goalkeeping duty, but for some reason Mullingar nodded off in this tidying and Clondalkin picked and moseyed untouched for a dagger to the heart.

But still they found something in the depths.

On 16 minutes Liddy made big yards off the back of a scrum into their 22, and Lafferty took it on again for the beachhead.

From here it was flashed left before Daniels on high dander plucked at pace and wove her merry way under the sticks for a magnificent score and game on again.

Now it could have been anybody’s, and with their extra legs they were quickly back in Mullingar’s 22 where Daniels picked a yellow for an armless tackle.

In this gap they drove home their advantage, and their Leinster star scythed  through to put them nine up with 11 to play.

And yet still, Mullingar didn’t know how to lie down, and back at they came with nostrils flared and all guns blazing.

From the re-start Mullingar went long and won a line-out in their 22.

Though Clondalkin spoiled it, Farrelly was sharp as mustard to the clearance kick and forced a 5m scrum with the charge down behind their line.

From this Liddy did another pick and go from the base and she was not for stopping as she biffed over her second of the day and leave Mullingar just four adrift with eight remaining.

Again Clondalkin upped their game, and brave Bronwyn Nolan sacrificed a moment or two of consciousness with a try saving tackle with four remaining, but the onslaught continued and with two of regular time remaining they forced over their killer bonus score.

Still the heads wouldn’t bow, and searching for the score that would’ve bagged two losing bonus points, Leanne Duncan took off on another might gallop down the left wing only to be just snaffled a few out by their last cover, before ref called last play and they gratefully dispatched the pill to a grateful touchline.

Team: 1. Chloe Flood, 2. Claire Farrelly ©, 3. Tash Feery, 4. Louise Hargadon, 5. Paula Lafferty, 6. Clodagh O’Brien, 7. Claire O’Brien, 8. Eadaoin Liddy, 9. Laura McCormack, 10. Bronwyn Nolan, 11. Ruth Daniels, 12. Aoife Doonan, 13. Leanne Duncan 14. Alwyn Gibney, 15. Ciara Wynne. Coach: Niall Keane.

Overall Club Try scorers (as of Jan 13): Nikki Feery (6), Alan Brabazon (5), Eoghan Moore,  Stacey Boland, Ruth Daniels (4), Ciara Wynne, Stewie Flynn, Ronan Wallace, (3) Arthur Brabazon, Ben Glennon, Darech Geraghty, Eadaoin Liddy, Daryl Quinn (2), TC, Alex Midic, Fitzpatrick, Sean Rock, James Neale, Gilleran, Cooney, Paul Smith, Paula Lafferty, Meadhbh Scally, Sean Ennis, Aaron Glennon.


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