Leinster League Division 2
Portdara 12 Naas 38
Naas RFC Women move into second place in Leinster League Division 2 after a solid win in a scrappy game against Portdara, from the combined Portarlington and Cill Dara clubs. Missing several forwards, Head Coach Brian Smith was forced to make several positional changes, in a team that was very different to the side that won very convincingly against UCD two weeks ago.
Inevitably, Naas took almost 15 minutes to make the first breakthrough, after a messy opening characterised by 12 penalties, 9 of which were against Naas. Despite the untidy nature of the opening phases, Naas were able to exert serious territorial pressure on the dogged home side. Young prop Emma Tully, a product of the Naas girls’ section drove powerfully all day, and after 14 minutes she made great yards after a fast tap by the Naas scrumhalf. Tully then fed Emily Mckeown, a back turned playing flanker on the day, who scored the first of her four tries from the edge of the 22. The extremely reliable Amy McGuire added the conversion to make the score 7 nil after 15 minutes.
From the restart, Mckeown ran powerfully back into the opposition half, and then the Naas pack recycled quickly to allow the impressive Cliodhna O’Connor to beat the Portdara defence on the outside, and race in under the posts. Again, McGuire slotted the conversion to make it 14 nil to Naas.
Portdara contained Naas well for the next few minutes, until Ciara Mckeown broke the line with a darting 30 metre run, well supported by the forwards, in particular Ellen Murray, Asta Rowe and Bev Mahon. The fast ball won by the forwards allowed Emily Mckeown to race in from 24 metres to score her second. McGuire, uncharacteristically, missed the conversion, leaving the visitors 19 nil up just before the break. For the last few minutes of the half, it was about the Naas pack, as the Kildare women put the home scrum under serious pressure, including a stunning scrum won against the head by the Naas front row of Emma Tully, Ellen Murray and Malgorzata Korpas.
The start of the second half was delayed as the medics dealt with an injured player, and the Portdara women handled the delay better than the visitors. They won a scrum penalty, partly caused by the dominance of the Naas front row, and then scored a great team try as the Naas forwards were caught by surprise.
Asta Rowe, Naas’ very popular flanker, then exploded into life with several powerful carries. Two of these brought her over the line, but it seemed this was unfamiliar territory for the basketball convert and she wasn’t able to ground for her first ever try. One of these led to a goal line drop out, which misfired slightly for the Portdara women and only went 5 metres. Once more, Emily Mckeown was on hand to barge in to make the score 24 5 to Naas, McGuire kept her cool and once more added the conversion.
The Naas pack was now utterly dominant, and they started to stretch the Portdara defence to breaking point, Effective, direct running from Tully, Rowe and Murray took its toll on the tiring home team. To add to the challenge facing Portdara, Smith was able to introduce a raft of young substitutes in Katie Halpin, Abbie Cleary, and Jane Fallon. On the 60-minute mark, a weary Portdara defence was once more exposed by McKeown’s pace as she ran in for her fourth of the day from her own half. Emma Tully then capped a stunning personal performance with a great forwards try from close quarters, after the whole Naas team was involved in a flowing phase of play which moved the ball first right then left.
Portdara, to their credit, found the energy to launch one more attack and were rightly rewarded with the last try of the game to make the final score 38 12 to Naas.
Naas will now face bottom of the table CYM in a hone game on Sunday 3rd December.
Shauna Kinsella, Jamie Garland, Rachel Naughton, Zoe Dunbar, Cliodhna O’Connor, Amy McGuire, Ciar Mckeown, Malgorzata Korpas, Ellen Murray, Emma Tully, Beverley Mahon, Lauren Bergin, Asta Rowe, Emily Mckeown, Jesssica Weld, Abbie Cleary, Jane Fallon, Natasha Moroney, Katie Halpin, Emma Kelly Women’s Rugby