Athy senior women’s XV got back on track win a convincing league win against North Meath/Swords (NMS) 29-7 last week following their recent disappointing defeat against Barnhall.
Athy started strongly pushing forward in possession, rucking and counter rucking with purpose and dominating territory. Setting the pace of the game as they did it was not long before their dominance was rewarded with a try by centre Aileen Langton on 10 minutes following some excellent phase play and ball recycling.
While Athy might have expected to kick on from there NMS responded to the home efforts by upping their work rate and attacking the rucks more aggressively. The visitor counter rucking was effective and while it did not achieve much in the way of turnover ball it did succeed in frustrating Athy’s recycling and slowing it down. This allowed NMS time to realign their defence and counter Athy runners off ruck ball. The visitors did attack Athy territory on a number of occasions themselves but the excellent Athy defence was able to cope comfortably. NMS did orchestrate a very good attack in the second quarter with a fine break through the Athy line that had the home side in real trouble but for the excellent covering tackle by full back Niamh O’Connor.
It took until just before the break for Athy to register their second score when number 8 Sabrina Mannion peeled off an attacking ruck 5m out taking advantage of a gap in the visitor defence to touch down.
After the break Athy continued as they started the match but now they managed to recycle the ball quicker and this really put pressure on the NMS defence. Powerful runs by second rows Mary Philips and Chrissy Farenden and the front row starters and subs Sinead Kelly, Robyn Griffin, Mairead Corcoran and Geraldine O’Brien put the home side constantly on the front foot and they crossed the line on 42 mins when Ger Kelly touched down.
Athy crossed the line again on 51 mins after an excellent break by centre Aileen Langton found hooker Robyn Griffin in support who made superb ground until brought down just short of the visitor line. The resulting recycle saw Mairead Corcoran forcing her way through to touch down with out half and captain Sarah Hendy converting.
The final quarter saw a number of chances for the home side to stretch their lead with good breaks from centre Claire Hughes and scrum half Sonia Keegan amongst others but the NMS scramble defence snuffed out the threats.
Athy did cross the line again on 71 mins with a well taken try by flanker Elaine Lynch, converted by Hendy, after another progressive period of phase play but it was NMS who finished out the last 10 minutes of the match in search of a score.
Some passive defending by Athy allowed NMS to put pressure on the home side with a number of strong ball carries. This pressure allowed NMS to push into the home territory towards the line.
The visitors found space out on the left and looked sure to score but for an outstanding cover tackle by Robyn Griffin on the winger. NMS maintained the pressure though and were eventually rewarded for their efforts at the end with a penalty try awarded for a high tackle by the home side.
ATHY: Niamh O’Connor, Kayla Leifman, Claire Hughes, Aileen Langton, Patrycja Gruba, Sarah Hendy, Sonia Keegan, Sinead Kelly, Robyn Griffin, Mairead Corcoran, Chrissy Farenden, Mary Philips, Elaine Lynch, Jade Molloy, Sabrina Mannion, Geraldine O’Brien, Louise Hennessy, Geraldine Kelly