Kerry U13’s Girls soar at Highfield
Blitz at Highfield RFC in Cork
The Kerry U13 girls (consisting of girls from Killarney, Killorglin, Tralee and Listowel rugby clubs) took part in their second blitz at Highfield RFC in Cork on Sunday the 25th of February. It was a bitterly cold day, but there was no rain and the pitch was in great shape. A perfect day for rugby. Coaches Danny and Hollie made sure the girls were well warmed up and ready to go. Then the team was set out. The centre forward position went to Robyn, Sasha and Lyndsey started as props, Emma and Caoilinn took their places at back row, Fia was the number 8 with Emily acting as scrum half. Both Chloe and Niamh took the flankers position, Ruth was to play number 10 and Ellen went to the wing. Once the team places were finalised it was off to the changing room and a few minutes later the girls appeared donned in the Kerry Girls Jersey. Last minute instructions by the coaches and then they faced into their first opposition which was Fethard/Mallow.
Fethard/Mallow won the toss and kicked a high ball toward the Kerry Girls try line. However it fell conveniently in front of Lyndsay who scooped it up and darted up the pitch cutting through the opposition to score the first try for the Kerry Girls. Fia kicked off for the next play and the whole Kerry team raced up to face the opposition. Robyn made a tackle to take the ball but it was knocked on and Fethard/Mallow had the first scrum of the game. The ball came out but Emily put in a hard tackle bundling both player and ball over the side line resulting in a lineout for Kerry. Once the ball was secured Kerry set to making their way up the pitch, slowly but efficiently distributing the ball across the line, Chloe to Niamh and onto Caoilinn with Ruth taking the ball and making another few yards with Emma in support. With the oppositions try line in sight they pushed on. When Fethard/Mallow gave away a penalty it was quickly taken and Fia dotted down over the try line to make it 2 tries for the Kerry Girls. The line speed from the Kerry Girls was impressive and credit is due to Danny and Hollie who had put a lot of work into improving it during training. Chloe, Ruth, Niamh, Ellen and Emma made sure the line was held with good communication and plugging any gaps that the opposition might get through. Fethard/Mallow were tough and a few missed tackles by Kerry brought them close to the Kerry Girls try line at times. The third try came from a wonderful tackle by Caoilinn leaving the ball free for Emily to pass onto Sasha who went over the line. The last try was a team effort involving some wonderful rucking and distribution from Emily and Robyn to players Ellen and Chloe who capitalised on each take to move the ball further up the pitch. Sasha again was in the right place at the right time to score the fourth try and a bonus point to boot.
Kerry Girls second game was against Ballincollig/Clonakilty. Kerry Girls had played this team in the first blitz ending in a 1-1 draw. Both teams were evenly matched. Kerry Girls got the first try which came from a strong lineout made up of Emma, Ruth, Fia and Robyn and the try was finished by Lyndsay. The restart from Kerry Girls gave possession to the opposition who made good use of it, recycling and passing and making the Kerry Girls work to get possession of the ball again. There were some ferocious tackles from both sides with Chloe and Ellen really getting stuck in. The coaches on the side line were urging the girls on as they tried to keep Ballincollig/Clonakilty from getting a try. Unfortunately Kerry Girls knocked on giving the opposition a scrum resulting in a well worked try leaving it one apiece. From the restart Kerry took the ball and surged up the pitch. Ruth and Niamh were marshalling the line encouraging each girl to work to get the next try. And work they did. The rucking was excellent with Emily with the support of Robyn cleaning out the ruck time after time and even managing a few tackles along the way. Caoilinn made a terrific tackle on one of the opposition who was about to intercept a pass that was moving along the line, blocking what would have been a definite try. There would always be another girl to take the ball and carry it on the extra metre. Chloe passing to Ellen, Ellen passing to Niamh who would go to ground. Then Robyn would protect the ball and Emily would pass it onto Ruth who would pass to Emma and Emma onto Caoilinn who would go to ground, Fia would protect the ball and Sasha would pick and go again. It was this kind of teamwork that yielded Kerry Girls second courtesy of Lyndsay and much to the delight of Danny and Hollie who had put a lot of work into the rucking during the week. Not to be out done Ballincollig/Clonakilty came back and scored a lovely try which left the two teams and looked like it would be a draw for the second time. However, the Kerry Girls rallied and with a minute to spare they worked their way up the pitch again for the last time and a quick pass allowed Lyndsay to slip through the oppositions line and touch down for Kerry Girls third try and a hard fought victory. Kerry Girls 3 Ballincollig/Clonakilty 2.
The final game for Kerry Girls was against Abbeyfeale who were unbeaten and lay top of the League. But buoyed by their success in their last two matches and encouraged by the coaches and supporters they took to the pitch in anticipation of a tough game. And what a game it was! Both teams went at it hard, Abbeyfeale scoring the first try. Kerry regrouped though and when Abbeyfeale restarted the game Robyn caught the ball and passed it onto Sasha who led the team up the pitch as the Abbeyfeale girls bore down on them. Everything the Kerry Girls team had learned in training was now put into practice. The girls fanned out along the line. Everyone was moving fast, shouting to make each other heard mixing up the passes and hitting the ground with ball in hand ready to recycle as fast as possible. Ruth goes down, Robyn stands over her protecting the ball while Emily rushes into pluck it out as Robyn is knocked to the ground by her opposition player. Fia gets the ball and tries to smash her way through the defence with two of the opposition deployed to bring her down as the try line comes into sight. They tackle her hard but not before she lays off a slick pass to Sasha who goes over the try line for the Kerry Girls first try. Unfortunately Fia took a knock on her hip and had to be taken off.
On the other side of the pitch an Abbeyfeale player had suffered a leg injury and had to be taken off leaving 10 players aside to fight out the last few minutes of a thrilling game. Nothing lay between the teams. It was tit for tat towards the end. On the side line there were people hoping the whistle would blow, it should be a draw, neither team deserved to lose. It was the last play of the game and Kerry Girls had possession of the ball. They made their way towards the Abbeyfeale try line. The Abbeyfeale girls lay in wait ready to defend the line. Again it was a case of pick and go stealing a bit of ground along the way, Sasha to Caoilinn, Caoilinn to Chloe, Chloe goes down with ball in hand while Robyn steps over to protect and then Emily plucking the ball out and onto Ruth who bullies forward making space for Ellen who takes the ball and passes on to Emma who goes to ground with the ball and Niamh rushes to protect the ball. Abbeyfeale are tackling hard all the time and it’s hard to see where the ball is until suddenly Lyndsay is over the try line. The whistle blows. The Kerry Girls have scored at the last minute in a scintillating game. Kerry Girls 2 Abbeyfeale 1.
Many thanks to the Players Coaches, Danny Harrington and Hollie O’Byrne and to all the parents who came to support the Kerry Girls team.
All Pics Courtesy of Morna Dixon