Leinster Premier League Cup Final
Navan 17 – Wicklow 7
Mammies and Daddies, Aunts and Uncles, Grannies and Granddads and plenty of friends turned out Saturday to see the Navan u14 Girls do their magic in Cill Dara RFC. They weren’t to be disappointed.
The girls hit the game at 120 per cent and never eased up. Wicklow defended well, with a never say die attitude. They made tackle after tackle, but the Navan pressure was relentless and ten minutes in, Anna Hilliard touched down. A strong cross wind denied the conversion.
Navan launched themselves on the opposition straight from the restart. Wicklow fought valiantly to contain them, but with charges from Ally Cullivan, Sasha Guirey, Ava Galvin and Ellen Birmingham sucking in the defence the backs got a chance to shine. With dummy runners and skip passes, Abby Moyles got the ball on the wing and touched down in the corner. A difficult kick went astray in the wind.
Second half and there was no let-up in intensity. Wicklow using the wind advantage, kicked over the top chasing strongly. Rosie Searle managed to mind shop each time until Sarah Leonard and Steffi Finnegan could get back to help. Cara Martin was everywhere, tacking everything that moved, making darting runs into the opposition and recycling ball, over and over. Outside her, Leah Morris set up wave after wave of attack. The atmosphere on the side-line was electric. Parents were starting to invade the pitch Navan were camped out in the Wicklow 22 and weren’t leaving.
Ciara Rennie got the ball seven meters out. She doesn’t get stopped from this distance. This time Abby converted bringing it to seventeen nil. Unfortunately, Ciara took a knock when she was grounding the ball and had to retire. Niamh Mcsherry came on in her place and played a stormer. Jade Gaffney came on as scrumhalf and was a joy to watch firing balls out to Leah at 100 mph. Roisin Cullen, Lilly Dwyer and Roisin Watters came on and slotted seamlessly in the game.
With five minutes to go, and seventeen points clear, we emptied the bench. It was a pleasure for the coaches to see Maebh Mills, Alicia Kavanagh, Emily O’Brien and Tara Quinn out on the pitch. Unfortunately, Ava Purcell was injured but twenty-two, of the twenty-three player squad, took an active part in the final.
Wicklow, with great heart scored a try in the final minute. In fairness to them they played their hearts out the entire game but were unfortunate to meet a Navan team that get better each time they go out. Lauren Fitzpatrick was captain on the day and as usual led by example. Her tackling was immense. It took three players to stop her when she carried ball.
Once again, they have made it impossible to call a woman of the match. They went out as a team with enormous contributions from each of the girls. We are extremely proud of each of them.
Back home, the reception from the club, has to be one of the season highlights. The girls were cheered and clapped through a packed bar. After they got their pizza they were presented with their travelling hoodies. It was an honour to have Gerry Williamson (club president), David Cullivan (vice-president), John McEntaggart (director of rugby), Bryan McKeever (club captain) and Paul Power (Leinster ladies area rep) on stage to sing the girl’s praise.
It has been a great season with a great win to finish it off. The coaching/management team of John Molloy, Nour Khairy, Patrick Martin, Mark Gaffney, Declan Hilliard and Deirdre Cullivan could not have asked for a better bunch of girls to work with.