Galwegians' standard-bearers retire with silverware to show

Galwegians celebrate winning the Energia Women's AIL Plate Final after defeating Blackrock at Crowley Park on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Galwegians celebrate winning the Energia Women's AIL Plate Final after defeating Blackrock at Crowley Park on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Crowley Park was a jubilant venue for three former internationals, Mairead Coyne, Mary Healy, and ex-Wegian and Rock prop Laura Feely, who hung up their boots on a day of silverware success.

Galwegians Womens’ Seniors team won silverware beating AIL League champions Blackrock College by 25-19 to win an enthralling Energia AIL Plate final at a sun-drenched Crowley Park on Sunday.

In what was a cracking advert for women’s rugby, the Blue Belles opened the afternoon with an early penalty from captain Nicole Fowley. However when the visitors scored the opening try by lock Eimear Corri on the right, converted by Lisa Mullen, it nudged them 8-7 in front.

The see-saw nature of this contest continued as the Blue Belles went back in front with a try just after the first quarter. A sublime delayed pass from Fowley and a perfectly timed run by full-back Mairead Coyne set up the try which winger Ursula Sammon finished on the right.

The game's decisive moment came just before the break when Coyne, playing her last game, made a trademark intercept near half-way to race home and score for a second unconverted try, giving Wegians a narrow 13-7 lead at the break.

However that would change lead when Rock took advantage of an extra player with Wegians prop Niamh O’Grady binned in the 42nd minute. Taking advantage, Corri scored her second try in the right corner, converted by Mullen to edge in front 13-14. Despite down to 14, the Blues responded when sub hooker Emily Gavin, fresh on the pitch, finished a series of controlled pick and goes by diving over at the base of the goalposts. Fowley added the extras to restore the six-point advantage.

With the game in the balance heading, momentum crucially swung the way of the home side as they pinned Rock deep in their half, and when Orla Dixon - another stalwart playing her final game in blue - ran a goal-line drop-out, substitute scrumhalf Mary Healy fed Fiona Scally, and the No 8 dismissed four attempted tackles to power over for the all-important try.

With O’Grady again yellow carded, the Blue Belles had to finish the game a player short, and Rock managed another late try out wide from full-back Abby Moyles. But Wegians crucially closed the game out to jubilant scenes at Crowley Park - a fitting end to the game for the three retiring former internationals, Coyne, Healy and ex-Wegian and Rock prop Laura Feely.

 

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