The PortDara Falcon U-18 Women’s Rugby team took on Wicklow in the league final recently.
All the great work in the early part of the season lead to a league final against Wicklow in Energia Park, Donnybrook – the scene was set for a cracker of the game in cold but near perfect conditions.
Right from the kick off the PortDara girls were under pressure with Wicklow mixing up their game between the backs and forwards but our girls put in a defensive display which any team would be proud of.
They were awesome in their one on one tackling to prevent Wicklow from building momentum and the close in group tackling held the ball up and turned over possession time and time again.
Eventually the pressure told as Wicklow put together a period of possession of close in handling to cross for the first score of the game but this went unconverted for a 5-0 lead after 25 minutes.
This score spurred the PortDara team into action and from the kick off they gained their own territory and it now was time for Wicklow to defend … and defend they did, there was a period where there was a carbon copy of the early part of the game.
Attacking the Bective end last desperate tackles prevented a score until a clever pick from the back of the ruck saw PortDara cross for the equalising score and a conversion to take the lead 7-5 as the clocked ticked towards half time.
The scoring wasn’t finished as Wicklow came back up the pitch and following a penalty kicked to the corner with a driving maul from a lineout, which was again well defended, the ball was spread wide left and repelled and then back to the right and with the defence stretched Wicklow crossed for a try, the extra points were added and Wicklow led 12-7 at the break.
The second half was more of the same with defence on top from both sides as attack after attack were repelled at both ends of the pitch.
The bench from both sides were needed as the effort started to show but the intensity didn’t drop – it was a compelling match to watch and was a brilliant advert for girls rugby in the province.
It was 25 minutes into the half until the next score was tagged on when Wicklow opted to kick for the posts after failing to break through the black wall of the PortDara defence .. two scores were now needed as Wicklow went into the final 10 minutes leading 15-7.
PortDara built again and from the kick off worked their way deep into the Wicklow half only to turn the ball over as the line was getting closer following each phase.
The dangerous Wicklow backs then started to make some inroads as the PortDara girls started to tire and, with the number of available players down through injury, the reserves on the bench had been used.
Two late converted tries by Wicklow put up a gloss on the final score of 29-7 which in no way reflective of the effort that was put in.
The parents, coaches and officials could not be prouder of the girls and despite the tears there were smiles and the realisation that they were in the final where they deserved to be and they will be back to challenge for honours very very soon.
As a foot note, credit to Wicklow who won all three final yesterday at u-14, u-16 and U-18.