The Donegal Town RFC Ladies team got their league campaign off to the perfect start at a mild and misty day at the Holmes on Saturday
Donegal Town Ladies 21
City of Derry Ladies 20
The crowds gathered to the The Holmes hoping for an enthralling game and both teams did not disappoint.
Donegal through Joanne Mc Cormack, Claire Mc Glinchey and Tracy Stella Connaghan smashed the Derry defence but credit to Derry they held strong. Derry were first to get on the score board when Donegal couldn’t secure their own ruck and Derry ripped the ball and sprinted clear to score their first try of the game. They missed the conversion. 5-0 to Derry.
This didn’t stop the home side who started working though the backs Laura Kenny, Helen Mc Partland and Claire Graham. They found weakness in Derry’s defence which would eventually lead to a penalty which Helen gratefully converted.
Donegal came right back at Derry and with good pressure coming from forwards Nao Cannon and Elaine Britton saw Leanne Wray taking contact and offloading to Laura Kenny who dived over the line. Helen converted again. 10-5 to Donegal.
Good pressure from Derry again saw Donegal miss two tackles in midfield which lead to Derry’s second try. Conversion was missed. 10-10 at half time
The 2nd half brought new life into Donegal as they sat camped in Derry’s 22 and it paid off when quick ball from Marie McCabe set the back line free and quick hands out to winger Martina Cunningham saw her dive over the line for her first ever try and Donegal’s second of the day. Conversion was missed. 15-10 to Donegal.
Donegal pressed again and saw good switch play between the Kenny sisters Laura and Linda. Laura broke the line but got dragged down just five metres short of the try line. This would lead to hands in the ruck from Derry and Helen would go on to convert the penalty. 18-10 to Donegal. Derry with grit and determination would pressure the Donegal line and despite valiant defending they would go over for their 3rd try. 18-15 the score.
Scores were swapped and the home side would push again on Derry and get another penalty just inside the 10 metre line. On the edge of Helen’s range she stepped up and struck the ball clean and it soared over the bar with metres to spare. Derry would get one final attack which saw them get what was in Donegal’s eyes a controversial try. the game finished a nail biting 21-20 to Donegal Town Ladies.
Donegal can hold their heads high as they send a message to the rest of Ulster that they are here to stay.
Donegal Town RFC: Leanne Wray, Elaine Britton, Tracy Connaghan, Nao Cannon, Claire Mc Glinchey, Joanne McCormack, Marie McCabe, Laura Kenny, Helen McPartland, Claire Graham, Martina Cunningham, Linda Kenny.
Coach: Gareth McMurray