- Result: Galwegians Women 13 - Highfield 8
- Venue: Templeville Road on Sat Mar 31st 2012
- Competition: AIL Womens Cup
Galwegians Womens XV won their first-ever All Ireland Cup when they won a hard-fought but deserved match against Highfield from Cork at Templeville Road on Saturday.
Playing against the wind in the first-half, Wegians took an early lead with a penalty from out-half Clare Raftery. However the Cork side were giving as good as they got, and they took the lead before half-time when they took advantage of a rare Galwegians defensive lapse to crash over from a line-out move, with Donna Hughes claiming the touchdown. This was converted by Geraldine Rea to put Highfield 7-3 up at the break.
The second-half was again a closely contested affair, with neither defence in the mood to concede much. The turning point of the match came with 15 minutes left on the clock, when Highfield centre Rea was sin-binned for a high tackle near her own 22. Wegians captain Emer O’Dowd passed up the opportunity to kick at goal and instead opted for a scrum. And while the initial move did not lead directly to a score, the pressure soon told on the Highfield defence. Following a few phases of patient attacking rugby, some good handling created an overlap and Galwegians hooker Tosh Haywood seized the opportunity to dive over for the crucial try. Raftery added the conversion to put the Blues 10-7 in front.
This led to an inevitable fight-back from the Cork women who then laid siege to the Galwegians try-line. However some resolute Blues defence and discipline kept them at bay. Then in a crucial play, a superb tackle by Raftery forced a turnover, and Lisa McDonagh fed ex-Irish international Nuala ni Chadhain who broke upfield and kicked deep into opposition territory to relieve the pressure. Wegians then used all their guile and experience to close out the game in the visitors’ 22. Then the icing on the cake came when Raftery struck a final penalty between the posts with the last kick of the game, sparking wild celebrations from the Blues and their supporters.