No silverware for Toon ladies

BALLYMONEY RFC LADIES 5 CARRICK LADIES 13

THE Ballymoney Ladies Rugby Team, skippered by Gill Powell, suffered an agonising 13-5 defeat in the final of this year’s Ulster Women’s Development League Cup at Randalstown R.F.C. on Sunday, as a determined Carrick proved just a little too strong for the girls in blue.

Before the game got underway, there was an evident emotional air within the team, as it was well known that this would be the last competitive match to be played by two of Ballymoney’s longest serving players; Captain, and scrum half, Gill Powell, and number 5 lock, Julie Greene.

With the girls on tenterhooks, it was a valiant effort on a day when the TOON could be forgiven for thinking that the rugby gods had turned their backs on them, in what was a pulsating Cup Final encounter.

John Hunter’s side fought hard from being 6 points down in the first half, and were unlucky that a scoring opportunity, in the final 10 minutes, passed them by, which would have certainly changed the outcome of the game to the betterment of the Ballymoney side.

For most of the game, the blues dug deep to stay within a score of their opponents, and even piled on the pressure as the second half ticked on, and tiredness started to show within the Carrick pack. However, time was not the TOON’s friend on this occasion, and a try in the dying minutes of the game was not enough to earn the victory the girls in blue so desperately wanted.

Nathan Moore, representative of NM Sports Performance, this year’s sponsor of the Ulster Women’s Development League, said after the match: “This game between the two finalists [Carrick Women’s R.F.C. and Ballymoney Women’s R.F.C.] was the best final ever for showcasing Women’s development rugby within the province.

“Ballymoney gave absolutely no quarter and Carrick harried, disrupted, and defended with total teamwork, with Ballymoney absolutely putting it to them with every single play.

“There were parts of the game that had a ferocity that has become the hallmark of Ulster Women’s Rugby, with physicality and a never say never attitude from both teams, which is an outstanding credit to the female game.

“Literally end to end in parts and at other times one side or other had sustained phase pressure with plays advancing up the field, and at other times it was one turnover by one side after the other. It was exciting to watch.”

Ballymoney Team: Ciara Mulholland, Andrea Barkley, Jenni Lindsay, Jen Murphy, Julie Greene, Jennifer Lappin, Vicky Wade, Julie Newton, Gill Powell(c), Samantha Hickinson, Samara McAlister, Eileen Irvine, Emma Elliott, Helen Murphy, Christine Kirkpatrick, Maggie McCaughan(sub), Jeanie Hermon (sub), Darlene Lyons (sub).