Three Deloitte Ulster women’s teams travelled to Ballina RFC, where they took on inter-pro rivals Connacht on Sunday afternoon for a friendly triple-header.
Up first were the Deloitte Ulster U18 Girls’ side, who were put to the sword by a strong Connacht team. It was a tough defeat for the young squad, but City of Derry front-rower Sadhbh McGrath got on the scoresheet for Ulster, with Malone’s Megan Creighton converting. Larne’s Ruby Starrett also came close to scoring with an excellent break in the first half, but Ulster couldn’t add any further to their tally.
Tries: Sadhbh McGrath
Cons: Megan Creighton
Deloitte Ulster U18 Girls’ team
Aisling McEnroe, Cara McManus, Cara O’Kane, Elle Corkey, Ellie-Louise McCall, Emma McArdle, Hannah Mahood, Jessica Kelly, Jessica Wilkinson, Kaitlyn Graham, Katie-Anne McCallion, Katie Gilmour, Leah Irwin, Lucy Calvin, Maebh Clenaghan, Maia Finane, Mia Ferguson, Megan Creighton, Molly Boyd, Niamh Johnston, Olivia Black, Rebecca Mann, Ruby Starrett, Sadhbh McGrath, Sarah Roberts, Scarlett Keys, Seonaidh Douthart, Sophie Barrett, Sophie McAllister, Sophie Meeke, Tara O’Neill, Zara Hutchinson.
The second game saw the Senior Women’s 1 team take on an Emerging Talent Connacht team, with Ulster coming out on top with a 12-27 win.
The visitors started strongly with a brilliant drive from Queen’s University’s Ellen Patterson to open up the scoring, with club-mate Aisling McMahoon landing the conversion. Ulster had three more chances through Grace Shrestha and Moya Hill, both players being held up over the line by a stout Connacht defence, but eventually Belfast Harlequins player Eva Cafolia ran in at the corner for Ulster’s second try. At the stroke of half-time, Cafolia was once again involved to send Cooke’s Tamzin Boyce home.
It wasn’t long into the second half before Cafolia once again made a break, working in tandem with Sarah Shrestha to put Malone’s Sophie Armstrong over for an unconverted try. Armstrong also had a say in Ulster’s fifth and final try, with Cooke scrum-half Hannah Downey dotting over for the visiting side.
Connacht fought back in the final half hour with two tries, but Ulster had done more than enough to take the victory.
Tries: Ellen Patterson, Eva Cafolia, Tamzin Boyce, Sophie Armstrong, Hannah Downey
Cons: Aisling McMahoon
Deloitte Ulster Senior Women 1 team
Ava Fannin, Aisling McMahoon, Ally McIlwaine, Cara O'Neill, Christy Hill, Diane Ramsay, Ellen Patterson, Emma Kearney, Eva Cafolia, Farrah Cartin McCloskey, Georgia Boyce, Grace Shrestha, Hannah Downey, Megan Graham, Moya Hill, Nicole Watterson, Rachel McKeown, Sarah Shrestha, Sophie Armstrong, Tamzin Boyce.
In the third and final game of the afternoon, the Deloitte Ulster Senior Women 2 team dispatched Connacht in a convincing 12-43 win.
It was a tight encounter to begin with, and it took 15 minutes for Ulster to break the deadlock through Malone captain, Peita McAlister. Ulster worked well across the pitch for Cooke back-row India Daley to pass to McAlister for the first unconverted try of the game.
Just three minutes later, Connacht drew level with an unconverted try of their own, but Ulster struck again ten minutes later with Cooke’s Ilse van Staden making a fend to score under the posts and Blackrock’s Ella Durkan converted. Right on half-time, Connacht fought back again for their second and final try of the game, which they converted to go level again.
Five minutes into the second half, Ulster claimed their third try through Cooke’s Amanda Morton who bundled under the posts after an Ulster charge-down. Durkan nudged over the extras.
Ulster’s back line showed some great inter-play for their next score, with Cooke team-mates Kelly McCormill and Ashleigh Orchard working well together with Belfast Harlequins’ Hatty Ravenscroft running clear from 22 metres out. Ella Durkan stretched their lead by another two points with the conversion.
On 53 minutes, Fiona Tuite from Old Belvedere made a superb break, with Peita McAlister making the kick to the corner, where Cooke’s Megan Simpson gathered to crash over.
With ten minutes to go, Railway Union second row, Keelin Brady broke Connacht’s defence to make the pass to Kelly McCormill for the try in the corner.
In the final play of the game, Ulster’s back line showed nice hands with Fiona Tuite and Malone’s Emma Jordan involved in the build-up for Cavan’s Megan Edwards to score under the posts, and Durkan landed the conversion to end the game.
Tries: Peita McAlister, Ilse van Staden, Amanda Morton, Hatty Ravenscroft, Megan Simpson, Kelly McCormill, Megan Edwards
Cons: Ella Durkan (4)
Deloitte Ulster Senior Women 2 team
Ella Garland, Ashleigh Orchard, Aishling O’Connell, Amanda Morton, Ava Fannin, Brenda Barr, Colleen McCance, Ella Durkan, Emma Jordan, Fern Wilson, Fiona Tuite, Hatty Ravenscroft, Helen McGhee, Ilse van Staden, India Daley, Keelin Brady, Kelly McCormill, Lauren Maginnes, Lucy Thompson, Megan Brodie, Megan Edwards, Megan Simpson, Naomi McCord, Peita McAlister, Rachel McIlroy.
Photo credit: Inpho Sports Photography