U16 Girls are Munster Champions!
Girls U16 Munster League Final: Killarney RFC 27-Ennis RFC 15
Words: Diarmuid O’Malley, Photos: Marie Carroll and Katie Graham, Compiled by Liam Murphy
The Killarney U16 girls made history by winning the Munster league and became the first girls team from Killarney RFC ever to win the provincial league title.
Played in front of a large crowd in LIT (Limerick Institute Technology) the girls from Killarney and Ennis played an absolute thrilling game of rugby. The teams were very evenly matched. Ennis opened the scoring with a well worked try and their conversation attempt hit off the post.
Killarney responded almost immediately with a well taken try from Niamh Dorrian after some very good interplay by the Killarney backs and forwards where nearly everyone from the Killarney team touched the ball.
This try from Killarney spurred Ennis on and after some incredible defensive play by Killarney, led by the outstanding back row of Ava O’Malley, Clodagh Foley and Katie O’Donoghue, Ennis eventually forced over the whitewash to lead 10-5.
Next to score was Marina Eager the Killarney fullback who had a huge amount of work to do before she scored. 10-10, and nothing between the two teams. The Beaufort wizard Niamh Dorrian got her second and Killarney’s third try just before half-time to go in at the half time break 15-10 up.
Ennis started the second half very strong and were first to score, to level the game again 15-15, what a game of rugby with both sides willing to throw the ball around in an excellent display of free-flowing rugby. Next up to score was the warrior from the Black Valley, Katie O’Donoghue who finished off a great move to put her team ahead 20-15 with 16 minutes left to play.
Sure enough Ennis attacked and attacked but the Killarney defence were resolute and each one of the girls put in amazing hits as Ennis tried to go over the killarney line. A superbly placed kick by the Killarney captain Fia Whelan set up the onrushing Niamh Dorrian to take the bouncing ball and with one girl to beat, Dorrian didn’t needed to be asked twice to beat the Ennis girl to complete her hat trick, which Whelan converted to put Killarney ahead 27-15.
With nine minutes to go. Both teams continued to play expansive rugby to the end, and fittingly it was the Killarney girls who finished the game looking for another score.
And to the rapturous sound of cheers from the players and the sideline support, the whistle blew, Killarney had won!
The Killarney captain Fia Whelan was then presented the trophy to a fantastic cheer from all present and Fia thanked the Ennis team for a very sporting game of rugby. The Munster branch representative paid both sides huge compliments on the standard of rugby displayed on the day.
Diarmuid O’Malley who along with Josh Whelan coach the Killarney team said “this is an exceptional group of girls from 1 to 22 each and every girl has added value all season long. The girls have bought into the culture and our game plan from day one and they are a joy to coach as they want to learn and want to get better.”
They have put in a huge amount of work to get to become champions of Munster, but the work rate displayed today and all season has being worth every bit of the effort and all you have to do is look around at the smiles on the girls faces and all their families and friends.
We are hoping this will act as a catalyst to get more young girls to give rugby a try. If playing sport, making new friends and being part of a community is of interest to you, simply come up and give it a try! We have girls from 4 years of age to 12 training every Saturday morning with our Minis and at 6.45pm every Wednesday our U14s,u16s and U18s girls train.
“A special mention has to go out for the unsung hero namely Anne Gabbett our manager, she ensures everything runs so smoothly today and every day during the season, she is the Rock of this group of extraordinary girls”.
The Killarney Team lined out as follows:
1) Annie O’Reilly
2) Ella Guerin Crowley
3) Molly Gabbett
4) Joanne O’Keefe
5) Melissa Mc Carthy
6) Katie O’Donoghue
7) Clodagh Foley
8) Ava O’Malley
9) Robyn Landers
10) Fia Whelan (Capt)
11) Ali O’Donoghue
12) Bronagh Dorrian
13) Holly O’Sullivan
14) Niamh Dorrian
15) Marina Eager
16) Miriam O’Sullivan
17) Isabella O’Leary
18) Grainne Kennedy
19) Lucy O’Sullivan
20) Nell Moore
21) Kate Mangan
22) Jess O’Sullivan
Coaches: Diarmuid O’Malley, Josh Whelan
Team Manager: Anne Gabbett