Double is done in monumental one-score cliffhanger

April 27, 2015

April 19, 2015. Paul Flood Cup, final.

Mullingar 5 Tullow 0

Double is done in monumental one-score cliffhanger
by Finian Coghlan

Never will a summer of repose be so well earned by a body of women who,
when asked by circumstance and associate, laid their existence out for
tramplement to a bunch of others they don’t much care for, and for no other
reason than they were simply asked. 
On Saturday Mullingar women travelled to Greystones and went toe to toe for
a fourth time this season against the substantial heft of Tullow.
In a stone cold nail-biter they prevailed by the most glorious of single
scores to add Paul Flood to the glittering cabinet, and allow all Heff
support to say with some equanimity that our women have a lovely set of
I’m told that on the bus on the way to the game young Sarah Murphy mused
that she didn’t feel fully part of the team as she had yet to sport a
proper black eye. 
Well, let me assure you readers, that on the way home her
Dalmation-flavoured face acquired in the white heat of Thumpdom cemented
her reputation amongst that pantheon of double Leinster winners, and while
the rest of the herd larged it up the Nth degree on the Sunday, Ms Murphy
dutifully attended her homework, ignoring the promises of four teacher
teammates to guarantee her a most deserved ‘A’. Such is their solidarity.
And all of this within the context of the greatest 24 hours in the history
of Mullingar RFC, as they joined the u17s, the 20s and the Thirds in
claiming a Leinster title in this scarcely believeable weekend. Fear not
though. An acro has been ordered to prop up the top table on awards night.
On a greasy day in Greystones, Mullingar adopted the same tactic that
served them so well in Donnybrook against the bigger Edenderry, and opted
to kick the ball in behind, and it worked so well in the first half that it
took Tullow all of 22 minutes to get into the Mullingar 22.
However, it was not without its casualties, and both physios saw nearly as
much pitch time as the ref, such was the level of attrition. 
Murphy collected her black eye early while Holmes was very lucky not to be
stretchered off after an emormous clash of heads.
In the mean time Katie Layde and Jenni Gibson led the way in the tackle
count, followed heroically by Crosby, Cleary and Kelly. 
From early it was evident that another nil-all draw was the likeliest of
results, as neither team could force the hole.
Mullingar seemed to have pack supremacy, but a tendency to infringe allowed
Tullow a share of the game they hardly deserved.
Unsurprisingly, the halftime break was reached without the ref having to
engage her pencil, ands the half time talk was measured and relaxed. 
However, Tullow cannily employed the wind on the turn and now it was
Mullingar’s turn to feel the squeeze. 
Twelve minutes in and Mullingar get the biggest fright when Tait was
charged down clearing from behind her own line. Fortunately the ball fell
to Gibson who got something on it but it ricocheted of the post and landed
at the feet of a bemused and wholly offside Sylvia Rattigan who positively
interfered without penalty, and Mullingar rode this luck to breathe again.
In the 17th minute the growing confidence of scrum half Sarah Murphy
manifested itself with a super snipe down the blind, and she looked like
she was off but for the smell of her stud barely grazing the touchline.
It then became Tullow’s turn to rally, and they used their considerable
heft to barge back to the Mullingar 22. In the 25th minute they had the
best opportunity to score when they had a five man overlap only for the
third to knock on and the sizeable Mullingar travelling contingent sighed
Then, with 10 minutes remaining, the Universe aligned like it promised it
would, and Mullingar’s season turned towards the heroic.
From the back of a scrum on the half way line the imperious Cleary picked
and went right, making quite a bit of distance before being hauled down. 
The posse was in hot pursuit and the recycle was quick. However, the pass
went behind Crosby who showed some great skill to catch and control the
ball behind her back before presenting it on a beautiful platter.
Murphy jumped at this and whipped fast to the superb Katie Layde at high
Layde somehow pushed herself through the only gap of the day to find some
space before floating a super 10m pass out left to the galloping Tait. Oh,
and if ever you wanted someone on the end of a pass like that, because she
just pinned them back and lit the burners for the corner. Usain Bolt with a
rifle wouldn’t have stopped her and the crowd went mental.
Mullingar were nearly punished for continuing the celebrations instead of
concentrating on the re-start, and Tullow made it deep into the Mullingar
22 straight away. Though they brought the kitchen sink, they just couldn’t
pry Mullingar’s hands off the prize. 
When the dainty steel of Murphy threw their biggest player to the deck in
the dying minutes the message was loud and clear, and this was confirmed
moments later when Susan Carty brought the final whistle to her lips and
confirmed Mullingar’s place in history.
1.AoifeBagnall, 2. Adrienne Andrews, 3. Tracey Talbot, 4. Claire O'Brien,
5. Sylvia Rattigan, 6. Sarah Crosby, 7. Katie Layde, 8. Clodagh Cleary, 9.
Sarah Murphy , 10. Niamh 'Crilly' Kennedy (c), 11 Sinead Holmes, 12. Jenni
Gibson, 13. Louise Kelly, 14. Nicola Roundtree, 15. Ellen 'Tayto' Taite.
Subs used: Aoife Hynes, Stacey Boland.
Try: Tait 
1st XV try scorers for 2014-15: 
Andrew Coade (20), Olive Butler (13) Louise Kelly (12), Matthew Coade, Sam
Blair (9), Paul Maxwell, Johnny Butler, Clodagh Cleary, Ellen Tait (8)
Diarmuid Raleigh (6), Davy O’Reilly (5), Stacy Boland, Ryan Tighe, Sarah
Crosby, Henry Reilly, Arthur Brabazon, Teenie Burke, Jenny Gibson (4),
Conor Jack, Ronan Wallace, Eoghan Gantly (3), Adam Kerroum, LeeAnne
Miller-Maye, Niamh Kennedy, Richie Pyke, Tracy Talbot, Aoife Bagnall,
Darren Brady, Adrienne Andrews, Cormac Dunne (2), Darech Geraghty , Luke
Peppard, Alan Brabazon, Nigel Mills, Niall Hannon, Katie Layde, Julie
Dunne, Alex Moran. 

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