|Larne U18 Girls
||15 - 51
||Enniskillen U18 Girls
Enniskillen U18 Girls Win Ulster Title
Enniskillen U18 girls travelled to the Mid Ulster Sports Arena to play Larne for the 2018 Ulster title. The girls arrived to the warm up area to the fantastic sound of their u15 club mates running in numerous tries to take the Ulster title. With the added pressure of the u15 performance the girls went about their warm up with calmness and control that has been building all season under Captain Tammy Millar.
After the presentations, the u18s moved to the main pitch for their match with the raucous support of their club mates ringing in their ears .
On a perfect afternoon for running rugby and with the wind at their backs, Larne kicked off deep into the Enniskillen half. Upon receiving the ball Enniskillen went about their work relentlessly until the final whistle. Phase after phase of attack, recycle, attack and ,as the ball moved around, Larne were struggling to cover all the threats Enniskillen were posing. The first try came from an attacking kick by Lauren Kilfedder, caught by Zara Flack and off loaded to India Daley to score.
From the kick off Enniskillen turned the ball over and Larne got their first attacking opportunity, to which they looked quite threatening, especially in the backs. Tackle after tackle by Enniskillen was holding Larne at bay but the referee had spotted an offside and Larne duly took the three point chance to stay in the game.
Fifteen minutes gone and only five points separating the teams, some great ball carrying into the Larne defence by Millar, Abbie Barrett and Megan Graham created time and space for Kilfedder to break and, despite being tackled well, quick recycling of the ball left space for Elli-Mae Maguire to snipe the short side, tackled just short of the line but Daley was on hand again to score.
Better reception of the kick this time and Enniskillen were on the front foot again through Millar, Daley and Ellen Brownlee. The ball was moved quickly to space and Flack scythed through the remaining defence to score.
As the score increased the confidence across the team was growing, Tara Corps and Anna Kelly were working well at lineout time and Kelly stole multiple Larne throws. From one such Kelly trade mark steal, Enniskillen launched their final attack before half time whistle to score. Half time 22-3.
During half time it appeared that Nadine Hunter, who had put Larne under severe pressure with her pace and counter attack, had suffered a bang and was replaced by Jessica Elliott. The coaches would have been short of any other intervention at half time after what was one of the best 35 minutes of rugby the girls had played to date.
Upon receiving the restart Larne tried to play their way out of their half, only to be met with very good Enniskillen defence. From a Larne scrum in their own 22’ Enniskillen got a shove on which gave Corps the chance to steal the Larne put in, and, as the ball came back to Daley, she picked to score and finished off the hard work of the Enniskillen front five. Over twenty points down Larne, to their credit, still kept fighting and got their first try of the match from the resultant kick off.
The ball went deep from the Skins kick off and was eventually won back. Meabh Mackin, Corps and Kelly started to punch holes in the Larne defence and the backs were getting plenty of ball, in particular Lauren Little was getting to show what she could do in attack. From one of her incisive breaks she put Karla Wiggins away, only to be denied by a superb covering tackle by the Larne defence. Maguire at Scrum half was having a fantastic game, using the forwards to carry, linking with the backs, or posing a threat around the ruck. She got her just reward following a Millar carry to just short of the line, supported by Brownlee and Barrett, she took her opportunity to get on the score sheet with a perfectly timed snipe.
With every player exuding confidence and wanting the ball, Jessica Elliott received the ball in some space and showed her class, stepping and weaving through the Larne defence to score probably the try of the day. With 20 minutes to go Enniskillen made their final replacement, Sarah McGuigan on for Daley, but the Enniskillen girls were in no mood to let up. Forward carries followed by releasing the backs, along with forward carries seamlessly out wide. Wingers Idina Burchmore and Wiggins, a thorn in Larne’s side, were holding their width patiently for that scoring pass; one particular opportunity for Burchmore with the try line beckoning, the final pass was poor and the scoring chance missed. Kilfedder at out half was kicking accurately to the corners and into space and Enniskillen recovered the ball from one such opportunity for McGuigan and Millar to drive at the line, with Kilfedder in support to finish the scoring with a well taken try.
Larne almost 50 points down didn’t throw in the towel and were still making a fierce contest of the game. After being repelled by the ferocious tackling of Maeve Mackin, Brownlee and Barrett, they scored the final points of the match and the ref blew to end the game.
The final score 51-15 might seem like a one-sided game but anyone present at the match can testify to how difficult and hard Larne competed. Enniskillen U18 girls put in the near perfect performance, every player from 1-17 gave their all for team mates, the shirt and their coaches.
Coaches Robbie Watson and Davy Flack expressed their pride in the development of the girls this season.
‘We are very proud of all the girls and all their efforts, throughout the heavy losses of last season which were no doubt part of the building blocks for the incredible achievements and results of this season and in bringing home this Ulster title on Saturday.
‘Finally we would like to thank all the family support the girls receive and all the efforts that makes it possible for our players to be at training and matches.’