Leinster Division 2
New Ross 22 Naas 24
Match Report: David McKeown
Photos: Michael Linehan
Naas women survived a second half comeback by a strong New Ross to maintain their 2nd place in Leinster League Division 2 in blustery Wexford on Sunday. Naas almost scored from the start after a solid scrum delivered good quality ball to the Naas backs. Unfortunately, this failure to score quickly was compounded by a series of penalties against the Kildare women, allowing New Ross to march down the field. The home side were able to convert field position into points with simple back line passing and a well-worked overlap. New Ross weren’t able to add the conversion, leaving the home side 5 nil up with 10 minutes on the clock.
Naas responded in some style 6 minutes later after a fantastic scrum drove the opposition back 10 metres before referee Kielthy awarded Naas a penalty on the New Ross 22. Fast, simple passing by the Naas backline seemed to lead to a try for Shauna Kinsella, but the last pass went forward in the windy conditions.
Naas pressure was rewarded 4 minutes later after the Naas pack forced New Ross into an error on their own line, and Jamie Garland was on hand to score. Conditions and distance meant Amy McGuire wasn’t able to add the conversion.
With the score now at 5 all, Naas started to find some rhythm with passes starting to stick, allowing Cliodhna O’Connor to sprint in to finish a fine team try. McGuire converted a really difficult kick, which ultimately would prove crucial.
A dominant Naas scrum and strong, direct running from the backline led to a good position on the New Ross 22. Emma Tully then scored the try of the day with an unstoppable 30 metre run straight through (or arguably over) 4 defenders to score under the posts. McGuire again, added the conversion to put the Naas women 19 points to 5 in front.
Just before half-time, centre Emily Mckeown finished another team try, with forwards recycling quickly and putting Shauna Kinsella into space, ably assisted by the elusive O’Connor. The conversion eluded McGuire and the half finished 24 5 to Naas.
After half-time, with a strong wind at their backs, New Ross showed their quality with a dominant performance which almost turned the game around. They scored 17 unanswered points in the second half, with three short range tries through their resurgent forwards. Two were well-created scores, but the Naas women will be disappointed with one try, where 3 missed tackles allowed the New Ross flanker to rumble over the line unopposed.
Naas had some creative moments of their own, with surging runs from Sheena Hubbard relieving the pressure on the Naas line. With two minutes left on the clock, the score stood at 24 17 to Naas, when New Ross scored the final try of the day. New Ross weren’t able to score the conversion, but there was still time to restart. A great kick from McGuire and a determined chase from the whole Naas team forced a penalty from the home side, and McGuire had the presence of mind to get the ball off the field, much to the relief of the large group of travelling supporters from Naas.
This win keeps Naas’ hopes of a promotion play-off place alive, with a critical game against Wicklow on Saturday 3rd February.
Katie Halpin, Emma Tully, Aoibheann Hasset O’Sullivan, Lauren Bergin, Alix Benn, Asta Rowe, Jane Fallon, Jessica Weld, Ciara Mckeown, Amy McGuire, Zoe Dunbar, Emily Mckeown, Jamie Garland, Cliodhna O’Connor, Shauna Kinsella, Abbie Cleary, Ali Miley, Natasha Moroney, Sheena Hubbard, Ella Morris, Beverley Mahon