UCD Women’s Rugby Club hosted the Kay Bowen Ladies Intervarsity tournament last weekend, taking on University College Cork (UCC), NUI Galway (NUIG) and Dublin University (DU) in a round robin style competition, with games taking place throughout Saturday afternoon. Each game in the tournament was 20 minutes long, with the final split into two ten-minute halves.
NUIG and Dublin University qualified for the final of the tournament after they finished first and second respectively in the table at the end of the round robin stage of the competition.
The rampant NUIG emerged victorious, 7-0, over Dublin University in a tightly contested final that saw the Galway side win the Kay Bowen Ladies Intervarsity trophy thanks to a last minute try.
UCD 0 – 25 NUIG
UCD kicked off against NUIG in the opening fixture of the tournament and struggled to match the pace set by their opponents.
Throughout the game, Ciara Meenagh was an ever-present at the breakdown as she ferociously competed for every ball. Equally, UCD captain, Julie Gillis was always on hand to carry for Collidge when called upon by scrumhalf Alice O’Callaghan.
Despite their eagerness to hit the ground running, UCD couldn’t get a foothold in the game and clinical play from NUIG left the hosts with very few opportunities to threaten the scoreboard.
The first try of the game came from a great break in midfield by NUIG. UCD’s defence was left scrambling until excellent covering tackles by inside centre Rachel Gilhealy and fullback Ailbhe Tuohy brought the NUIG second row to the ground.
Despite NUIG losing some momentum in their attack, UCD’s defence was still out of position and from the next phase, NUIG’s inside centre ran down the blindside, drawing UCD defenders towards the wing, allowing her to pass inside to the onrushing fullback who ran in the try.
Following the opening try, NUIG continued to pile pressure on UCD deep in their opponent’s 22. With UCD trying to pick and drive their way out of trouble deep in their own half, a turnover in favour of the visitors and some quick thinking by the NUIG inside centre, yet again, opened up UCD’s defence, allowing her to dive over the try-line to make it 10-0.
NUIG managed to add three further tries to their tally before the end of the opening fixture, scoring two very similar tries from deep positions, as well as a try based off very physical pick and drive play from a solid set piece.
UCD 5 – 5 UCC
Collidge’s second fixture saw them take on UCC in an evenly matched tie, as the hosts came back from an early setback and dominated proceedings at the tail end of the game.
UCC dictated the opening ten minutes, with their attack well drilled to maintain possession despite UCD’s back row of Meenagh, Gillis and Aisling Feeley ensuring they had a physical battle on their hands.
Eventually, UCC’s pressure in their opponent’s half told as UCD knocked on at the breakdown. This gifted UCC the platform to attack and from the resulting scrum, their scrumhalf took the ball in both hands and weaved between UCD defenders to run the first try of the game.
UCD hit back straight from the kick off and won possession thanks to their captain Gillis piling pressure on UCC. After securing the ball, UCD maintained over 15 phases in the UCC 22, with Meenagh, Feeley and Gillis carrying bravely throughout as O’Callaghan dictated play from scrumhalf.
After 15 phases, O’Callaghan spread the ball to her flyhalf, Jess Bertrand, who found inside centre Anna-May Gibson Kiely on her right shoulder. Kiely carried towards the UCC line and after being brought down just shy of the try-line, UCC were penalised for going off their feet at the breakdown.
O’Callaghan came forward to take the tap and instead of spreading wide, dove straight towards the line, catching the UCC defenders unaware and leveling the game. UCD missed the conversion, and a chance to take the lead.
However, Collidge had another chance to win the game from the kick off when Meenagh gathered the ball in midfield and broke numerous tackles to charge towards the try-line.
Meenagh didn’t have the pace to finish the chance and although UCD used this break to pile some pressure on UCC late on, the visitors managed to steal the ball at the breakdown and clear their lines and the referee brought the game to an end.
UCD 0 – 5 Dublin University
UCD took on Dublin University in their final game of the competition, with both sides requiring a victory to make the final.
Collidge managed to get an early foothold in the game thanks to great play by their pack, namely second rows Sarah Brennan and Sabine Neumayer, while the props Keytelynne Radde and Olivia Fogarty played a vital role in ensuring their side recycled possession.
Yet again UCD’s set piece let them down and resulted in them needlessly giving away possession. Following some pressure in the Dublin University half, their opponents regained some confidence and started to grow into the game. They managed to create an opening on the UCD right wing as the towering Dublin University second row charged through a gaping hole.
Great positioning by UCD winger Rachel Dooley meant she was on hand to make the covering tackle and take the lock down close to the sideline.
At this stage, Dublin University had a firm grip on the game and were looking very dangerous with the ball in hand. UCD hooker, Nadine Fadel, was giving a flawless defensive display, but the visitors were still making ground.
Dublin University looked to have scored a well deserved try after a clean break through UCD’s defence. With Collidge defenders scrambling to make the tackle and the attacker racing towards the corner, UCD fullback, Ailbhe Tuohy, made an excellent last ditch tackle to prevent a certain try. An error at the resulting breakdown by the Dublin University scrumhalf saw her step out of play and gave UCD a reprieve.
Despite earning some breathing space, Dublin University didn’t relent and quickly after the lineout, they retrieved the ball in the UCD 22.
UCD committed significant numbers to each Dublin University pick and drive towards the try-line, desperately attempting to stifle their opponent’s chance to snatch a late victory, but eventually the pressure told as UCD conceded a try in the final minute of the game.
15. Ailbhe Tuohy, 14. Rachel Dooley, 13. Rachel Gilhealy, 12. Anna-May Gibson Kiely, 11. Amy Anderson, 10. Jess Bertrand, 9. Alice O’Callaghan; 1. Keytelynne Radde, 2. Nadine Fadel, 3. Olivia Fogarty, 4. Sarah Brennan, 5. Sabine Neumayer, 6. Ciara Meenagh, 7. Aisling Feeley, 8. Julie Gillis (Capt). Replacements: 16. Mary Kate Moloney.