WOMEN DETHRONE SLIGOpublished:Mar 05 2013
BUCCANEERS 13 SLIGO 7
BUCCANEERS WOMENS squad proved too hot for Sligo as they wrestled the Connacht Womens League title from the north-westerners by defeating the holders more comprehensively than the 13-7 margin indicates after a good final played at Ballyhaunis on Saturday afternoon. The Buccs ladies were dominant from the off and, apart from a late rally by Sligo, the winners looked comfortable throughout.
With Buccs going well in the Leinster Cup and Sligo recent winners in the Ulster Cup, confidence was high in both camps. But the Buccettes signalled their intent from the off to force the pace and dominate territorially for the vast portion of a tough decider played in fine conditions on a sandy-based pitch. Elaine Conlon displayed her versatility when operating at prop with Emer Phelan retaining the No.8 berth. Sinead Taylor and Colette McSpadden, both absentees last week, returned to play key roles in the centre.
Tackling was tight throughout and both teams fared well at setpieces but Buccaneers had a sharper cutting edge although it took them until the 17th minute to open the scoring when Emma Treanor slotted over a penalty. Taylor then made a typically barn-storming break from her own 22, handing off four attempted tackles enroute to a magnificent 29th minute solo try that gave the Athlone girls, who missed one long-range penalty, an 8-0 half-time advantage.
Buccaneers continued to force the pace on the resumption and Niamh Ni Dhroma, try poacher supreme, added another touchdown to her growing collection when she squeezed through in the third quarter to stretch over the Sligo line. This gave Buccs a 13-0 lead that should have been greater as two kickable penalties in this period were spurned while Yvonne O’Shea went close with a promising break. Sligo did not relish losing their title so readily and they battled on gamely, and a 71st minute try at the posts was converted to set up an edgy finish. However, Buccs maintained their composure and shape to deservedly take the honours.
Try scorers Taylor and Ni Dhroma received best support in the backline from McSpadden. Mele Kiripati led by typical example in the front row exchanges, Treanor was a tower of strength at No.8 and Myriam Borque-Cascajo was as busy as a bee around the fringes. All in all, it was a very decent all-round squad effort by Buccaneers that reaped it’s due reward as they captured the League crown in only their second season to add to last year’s Cup triumph. Congratulations to all involved in this historic success.
BUCCANEERS:- N.Ni Dhroma;, A.Kelleher, S.Taylor, C.McSpadden, N.Gough; E.Treanor, S.Hynds; A.M.Sleator, M.Kiripati (captain), E.Conlon; N.Egan, C.Moore; M.Borque-Cascajo, S.O’Shea and E.Phelan. Replacements:- A.Kemmy (for Egan), Y.O’Shea (for Borque-Cascajo), A.Taaffe (for Kelleher) and M.Devaney (for Gough).