U15 Girls League Final: Ballinasloe 33-32 Westport
The Ballinasloe Girls U15 rugby team won the Connacht League title for an unprecedented fourth year in row in a cold but sunny Ballyhaunis RugbClub last Saturday, beating a strong Westport team who came into the final unbeaten.
The Ballinasloe girls were quickest out of the blocks with a try from Beibhinn Parsons after a minute. After a great run from inside her own 22, she outpaced the cover and scored under the posts with Joann Curley adding the conversion. The game was end to end with chances created by both sides, Ballinasloe scored a second try on five minutes again by Parsons following a turnover after great pressure by the backline after a scrum on the Westport 22.
Westport hit back with a try on 7 minutes after putting the ball wide through the hands after a tapped penalty. Both teams had settled into the game and it continued at a relentless pace, with both sides enjoying good possession only to be denied scores by excellent defensive work. Ballinasloe suffered a setback losing their full back and captain Isabelle Finneran to an ankle injury in the 11th minute following a tackle and subsequent ruck.
The Ballinasloe girls added tries on the 28th and 31st minutes, again by Parsons, as Curley added the extras in an excellent kicking performance with Westport replying on a try before half-time to leave the score Ballinasloe 26-10 Westport.
The Westport girls came flying out of the blocks in the second half with two quick tries and one conversion, Ballinasloe replied with a fifth try for the player of the match Parsons and the conversion was added again by Joann Curley, who kicked 4 from 5 on the day. Westport scored a try after sustained possession and pressure bringing them right back into the game and added another with a minute left on the clock to close within one point.
Ballinasloe worked their way back down to the Westport 22 but were held out with some strong defensive work by the Mayo girls as the pulsating encounter finished Ballinasloe 33-32 Westport.
In the Ballinasloe forwards, Rachel Larkin led from the front working tirelessly in defence and attack, Alisha Williams carried well, Aoife Castle tackled and rucked strongly along with all the forwards providing a good supply of ball to the back division. In the backs Anna McCann linked the play from scrum half in her first game in the 9 jersey and the backline was led by an outstanding performance by Beibhinn Parsons in attack and defence.
Ballinasloe Girls U15 Team Photo: Front Row: Shauna Bergin, Isabelle Finneran, Hannah Russell, Joann Curley, Alisha Manning, Avril Deely, Anna McCann, Beibhinn Parsons.
Back row: Rachel Larkin, Ellen Bleahene, Rosa Bleahene, Alisha Williams, Niamh Kelly, Alisha Noone, Róisín Fahy, Leah Hogarty, Aoife Castle.