Leinster u14 Girls Premier League Semi-Final
Portarlington 21 – Navan 31
A squad of twenty-two girls travelled to Portarlington on Saturday for a five o’ clock kick off. Navan dominated for the first ten minutes but couldn’t break through the Portarlington defence. First try came from the Portarlington number fourteen. They played a very clever move from the back of the scrum, going blindside, drawing the defence, then switching the play to the open side. Once the winger got moving, no-one could catch her, and she left the ball under the posts leaving the conversion a formality.
Anna Hilliard responded for Navan with a try shortly after. Unfortunately, the kick was missed but we were back in the game. Sasha Guirey, was next up, putting Navan in the lead for the first time. Navan ten points, Portarlington seven. Just before halftime, the same Portarlington winger got into space again and with her blistering pace, she scored again. Portarlington went in at the break leading fourteen points to ten.
Second half and Anna Hilliard, was back in action, scoring her second try of the day. This was converted by Abby Moyles putting us back in front. Steffi Finnegan was next to score, this one, also converted by Abby. It was beginning to look as things were starting to go Navan’s way. But the Portarlington winger wasn’t finished and scored her third try running from deep in her own half. Portarlington twenty-one. Navan twenty-four.
Twelve minutes to go and Portarlington started piling on the pressure. But Navan resisted, and eventually got away for Anna’s third try of the day, converted once again by Abby.
Four minutes left and Portarlington just wouldn’t give in. Navan were tired now and conceded four penalties at the breakdown. Fortunately for Navan, Portarlington decide to crash it up the middle. With Lauren Fitzpatrick waiting for them each time, they were going nowhere. Eventually Ava Galvin, did her usual trick and robbed the ball on her own five-meter line and brought it out to the twenty-two. She was awarded a penalty for a high tackle and Roisin Cullen booted it into the waiting parents. Game over. Navan 31 -Portarlington 21. A fantastic battle. With five minutes to go it was impossible to call.
Cara Martin had a tremendous game at scrum half. Ciara Rennie and Ellen Birmingham made their presence felt throughout the game. Steffi Finnegan was excellent as captain. Abby Moyles kicked three out of three. Woman of the match goes to Anna Hilliard with her three tries. She nailed any of the moves she was involved in and tackled as hard as anyone out there.
The squad consisted of: Ciara Rennie, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Niamh McSherry, Ally Cullivan, Sasha Guirey, Anna Hilliard, Cara Martin, Leah Morris, Ava Galvin, Steffi Finnegan, Sarah Leonard, Ellen Birmingham, Rosie Searle, Jade Gaffney, Lilly Dwyer, Abby Moyles, Roisin Cullen, Roisin Watters, Ava Purcell, Emily O’Brien, Maebh Mills and Alicia Kavanagh. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play everyone, but the season isn’t over yet. We have a final to look forward to and hopefully a challenge match or two.