Table toppers Blackrock continued their winning ways with a 38-29 win over Longford Ladies in the opening match of 2020.
Longford were forced to drop down to 13 players as Blackrock could not field 15, which impacted the Longford’s aspirations of getting back to their winning ways.
The opening 10 minutes was dominated by Blackrock with Longford missing tackles leading to Blackrock getting a converted try within seconds of the kick-off.
Longford found it hard to get any momentum a small handling error enabled Blackrock to get another try under the posts, the conversion left Longford trailing 12-0 after 22 minutes.
After the kick-off Longford regained possession with Jessica Stewart, Shauna Cahill and Emma Dardis supporting Leanne Keegan getting the ball over the line.
However, the referee decided the ball was knocked on when it looked to have been properly grounded.
Longford were afforded an opportunity to score with a penalty, however the ball was kicked in field, the Blackrock forwards regained possession to score another converted try.
Longford started a fight back with Maria Kelleher making a huge break from the halfway line to score a try, which was converted by Megan Banahan putting Longford on the score board.
This gave Longford the much needed motivation to kick-on with big hits, which created a gap for Megan Banahan who ran in an unconverted try with the support of Leanne Keegan.
Blackrock led at half-time 19-17. From the restart, Longford received the kick-off with Emma McHugh, Natalie O’Reilly and Roisin Shaw working together to make some crucial carries to the 22 metre line.
Jess Stewart, Amanda Sheridan, Shauna Cahill and Michelle Farrell kept the ball moving relentlessly which was then passed out to Leanne Keegan who scored a try.
While the conversion was short with Blackrock responding with a try. The conversion was added as the result of missed tackles by Longford left the score 38-29.
From the kick off Longford worked the ball down the field with Hannah Shea, Róisín Shaw and Dora Ledwith working hard at the breakdown.
The backs having room to work a brilliant move to set Megan Banahan free, she was tackled just before the line but managed to offload to Rebecca O’Hara who crossed the line.
However, the referee disallowed what looked like a perfectly good try, adjudging the offload to be forward.
Blackrock responded immediately, the Longford defence unable to recover leading to a penalty try and Megan Banahan recieving a yellow card for a tackle off the ball.
Longford dug deep after losing their captain. Good interplay between Abby Purdy, Monica Bannon and Leona Hoare allowed them to maintain possession and Rebecca O’Hara got another score on the board in the final minutes of the game.
The final score was 45-34, a disappointing defeat for Longford. They can be very proud of a brilliant performance being the only team to come close to beating Blackrock this season.
Longford Squad: Hannah Shea, Shauna Cahill, Irene Murtagh, Rebecca Duffy, Michelle Farrell, Maria Kelleher, Róisín Shaw, Dora Ledwith, Emma Dardis, Megan Banahan, Monica Bannon, Leanne Keegan, Leona Hoare, Rebecca Ó’Hara, Emma McHugh, Eimear Kelleher, Jessica Stewart, Natalie O Reilly, Amanda Sheridan, Abby Purdy.