Arklow Amazons win The Paul Cusack Plate 24 to 12
Arklow Amazons made the short trip up the M11 to face a fancied Trinity side in the final of the Paul Cusack plate on a magnificent pitch at Leinster headquarters in Donnybrook on Saturday last.
On a beautiful, still, spring morning Trinity, sportingly, did not opt for non-contested scrums despite the Amazons reputation in this department.
Trinity kicked off and immediately went on the attack. Stylish out half Charlotte Bowen got her back line straight into action but the Arklow defence held with some great tackles by Emer Cullen and Stephanie Nicholson. From a turnover ball Arklow went on the offensive and after several ‘pick and go’s’ , Claire Nicholson went over for the first score on 8 mins. Converted by Kiri McLoughlin
Arklow were growing in confidence but Trinity’s Kayla Young and Niamh Ryan put in some great defensive tackles. Some wonderful ball handling by Arklow backs Emer Cullen and sisters Emma and Racael Flood and relentless pressure by the forwards resulted in a try by captain Samantha Byrne. 12 to Nil
Trinity fought back. Arklow found it hard to deal with ’Player of the match’ Niamh O’Kelly Lynch who was always a treat with ball in hand. A cleverly taken quick penalty by Louolu Catinot close to the line gave Trinity a great chance but the Arklow defence was set and the opportunity was lost. Arklow were on the offensive again with some of the sharpest passing and handling of the season brought them quickly to the Trinity line again, resulting in a try by Lorraine Dunne converted by Kiri McGloughlin leaving the score 19 to nil at the break.
After the break Trinity renewed their attack and were eventually awarded by a try by Niamh O’Kelly Lynch after some confident handling by Ciara Grogan and Molly Byrne. The gap was narrowed to 19 points to 5.
The dominance of the Arklow pack took control of the game with drives by Sally Ann Hudson, Lauren Messitt and Samantha Byrne. An important line out steal by Dianne Hunt Byrne and some hard hitting tackles by Wioletta Godkin and Rachael Cooney left little doubt about the final result. Another Arklow try by Claire Nicholson brought the score to 24 points to 5
A great break through the centre by O’Kelly Lynch and Grace Quinlivan gave Trinity a converted try narrowing the gap to 24 points to 12.
A late searing break again by O’Kelly Lynch from behind the Trinity 22 brought her to within four meters of the Arklow line before being stopped by Ark low’s Lauren Messitt. The offload to Trinity’s Molly Boyne was defended well by Danielle Kavanagh and Louise Murphy and the treat snuffed out.
Arklow ran out deserving winners 24 points to 12.
Current Irish Rugby manager and 32 capped out half Paul Dean was on hand to offer his support and congratulations to the Arklow Amazons.
Arklow Team – Clodagh Hunt Cecil, Lorraine Dunne, Lauren Messitt, Rachel Cooney, Sally-Ann Hudson, Dianne Hunt Byrne, Wioletta Godkin, Samantha Byrne, Kiri McLoughlin, Emma Flood, Claire Nicholson, Rachael Flood, Emer Cullen, Stephanie Nicholson, Rebecca New. Subs – Deborah Whyte, Sarah Duffy, Danielle Kavanagh, Geraldine Galvin, Louise Murphy.