Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Women 24 – St Marys 0


Match Result

  • Result: Galwegians Women 24 - St Marys 0
  • Venue: Crowley Park on Sun Nov 6th 2011
  • Competition: AIL Womens League

Match Report

The Galwegians Women posted their first victory of the autumn on Sunday, a four-try 24-0 bonus point win over St Mary’s under the Galway sun.

Having opened two of their three previous encounters against heavily-favoured opposition, Galwegians co-coaches Anthony Murphy and Luke O’Donnell tipped the St Mary’s clash as a must-win turnaround. Their charges delivered from the opening whistle.

St Mary’s endured a 19-minute full-body barrage from the hosts which yielded three tries to footballer Becky McPhilbin (12), Clifden’s Lisa McDonagh (13) and number-eight Carol Staunton.

‘Wegians threatened from the outset with the lion’s share of ball possession and field position, but failed to convert until the ninth minute when forwards and backs combined stringing together 12 phases to take play from the Wegians’ 40m to the Mary’s 22. Once there, Ruth O’Reilly and Tosh Haywood sought direct routes to the chalk sucking in defenders across the board but were each unable to breach the bulwarks. Less than 90 seconds later Sorcha Ni Chadhain and McPhilbin had covered 20m breadth between them floating passes wide to right wing Marie Foley. McDonagh, doubling round, reaped the dividends scoring wide out right.

The kickoff landed in skipper Emer O’Dowd’s arms; two phases, 25metres and three half-tackles later the ball found midfield dynamo McPhilbin on a switchback. She bounced out of one, evaded two and streaked 25m to go under the bar for Wegians’ second of the afternoon.

Wegians barely lifted the foot from the accelerator as O’Dowd again fielded the restart and found Carol Staunton just off her left shoulder. Staunton, as opposed to McPhilbin only moments before, opted for a less diplomatic approach and ran through one, over another and streaked 45m for a magnificent solo effort halfway through the first spell.

There followed a St Mary’s resurgence which swung play between each 22m line but seldom caused more than momentary heart-flutters for ‘Wegians supporters. Katherine McDonagh (4), hooker Haywood, and O’Reilly were strong in defence, and loose forwards Heather Cary and Staunton did much to upset St Mary’s continuity at the turnover, but for the second week in a row it was blindside Maire Murray who featured most conspicuously atop the tackle count.

There northerner barely skipped a beat between weeks having shut down several Highfield scoring opportunities with last-ditch dives a week ago, and ensured Sunday’s visitors never even engineered a sniff of the tryline. Alongside Daly (and McPhilbin in the midfield), Murray must have notched a near perfect defensive slate.

The fourth try came shortly after stalwart former international Nuala Ni Chadhain’s cameo entrance 10 minutes from the end.

Spearheading a makeshift backline, Ni Chadhain issued rushed instructions to her outsides and launched from her own 10-metre line. Doubling round McPhilbin she found her 13 tearing back on the angle. As her colleague breached a formidable St Mary’s midfield, Ni Chadhain looped again, carved off 20m going solo, drew and passed to McDonagh who gunned for the corner flag. Swamped by defenders, McDonagh opted again for Ni Chadhain (her fourth touch in the movement) this time inside and but for an early tackle would have scored the fourth herself. From an ensuing penalty, sister Sorcha Ni Chadhain dummied open, slipped blind and swung a well-weighted wide pass to Ni Chadhain who sucked in three and freed Foley for her first before the final whistle.

Galwegians hit the road again on Sunday, this week to Blackrock. With stiffer opposition and away from home, the Baby Blues must again go from strength to strength, which – given their form over the past fortnight – appears to be a foregone conclusion.

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