Enniscorthy’s U 16 Girls rugby team made it 9 straight wins in the Leinster Premier 1 league after a pulsating victory against arch rivals Wicklow played in perfect conditions on Sunday afternoon in front of a large and appreciative crowd of home and away supporters. The first 15 minutes were nip and tuck with both teams probing for a weakness in defences that never yielded. Then a series of defensive errors opened the door for the away team to take a deserved lead with a well taken try. 2 penalties for high tackles, 1 for hands in the ruck, a loose kick and a number of missed tackles all allowed Wicklow to benefit with a 5 pointer.
Five minutes later, good work from Brid Kavanagh, Mikalal O’Leary and Taragh Cooper helped win a penalty 30m from the Wicklow line. Aoife Wafer took a quick tap, made 15m and quick ruck ball allowed Captain and scrum half Katie Whelan to throw a brilliant 20m cut out pass to centre Ciara Boland who did really well to pull in a couple of defenders and time her pass to her centre partner Mia Kelly who ran powerfully from 20m out to touch down 15m to the right of the posts for a great score. Mia converted her own try to give her team a 7-5 lead. Enniscorthy pushed hard for another score before half time with Kaci O’Conner threatening and just when it seemed to be coming, the Wicklow centre intercepted metres from her own line and broke free. A try looked certain but out of nowhere prop Jessica Wickham made a magnificent 60m cover tackle that guaranteed her team a lead going into half time.
Five minutes into the second half, Enniscorthy put into a scrum 30m out and to the right of the posts. Scrum half Whelan and centre Boland combined beautifully with a training ground wrap around move that put Whelan in for her team’s second try and a 12-5 lead. 10 minutes later a powerful run by replacement Elaine Oladirin opened the door for Mia Kelly to charge within inches of the line. Taragh Cooper was held up just short but good work from the forwards opened the door for second row Ciara O’Leary to drive over from close range. 17-5 to the home team.
A blocked down clearance kick allowed Wicklow score their second try despite heroic defensive work from Lucy Egan, Aoife Codd, Elaine Oladirin and wing forward Miriam Knoblauch. Shortly afterwards the away team kicked a penalty to get within 4 points at 17-13. That was as good as it got for the Garden county girls as Whelan’s charges upped the pace and dominated the remainder of the game. Try 4 came after good work from Wafer, Kelly, Boland, Oladirin and Whelan opened the door for Ciara O’Leary in for her second 5 pointer. Kelly added the difficult conversion. Rock steady full back Lauren Delaney almost scored the try of the day after her 50m scything run out of defence was stopped with a last ditch tackle just when it seemed she was going to run the length of the pitch. Whelan went in for her second try after an intelligent break from the back of the scrum 15m out. Kelly added the extras to leave the final score 31-13.
Replacements Katie Bates, Jessica Blythe, Amelia Morycka, Lara Freeman, Hanna Byrne and Chelsea Ajayi all contributed from the bench.
This outstanding group of girls have won all their 20 games this season but so far no titles have been won. Over the coming weeks they will contest a Leinster semi final and South East League Final. Coach Eamon Whelan has no doubt that they have what it takes to lift silverware before the season’s end: “I have never before been involved with such a united and determined group. An absolute pleasure to coach and they are always looking to improve”.
Team and subs: 1.Brid Kavanagh 2.Jessica Wickham 3.Mikayla O’Leary 4.Taragh Cooper 5.Ciara O’Leary 6.Miriam Knoblauch 7.Aoife Wafer 8.Lucy Egan 9. Katie Whelan capt. 10.Aoife Codd 11.Kaci O’Connor 12.Ciara Boland 13.Mia Kelly, 14.Erin Cahill 15.Lauren Delaney Replacements: Katie Bates, Chloe McGrath, Jessica Blythe, Hannah Byrne, Elaine Oladiran, Amelia Morycka, Lara Freeman, Chelsea Ajayi, Rioghna Hourihan and Laura Doyle.