Connacht U18 Girls Match Report

19 February 2024

Connacht U18 Girls Match Report


Connacht and Munster won the girls U18 inter over the weekend. The results respectively in Dubarry Park Athlone, Munster beat Ulster in 3rd/4th place playoff and Connacht beat Leinster in the final. 

The atmosphere was vocal and there was fantastic rugby that showcased the talent that’s in women's rugby in Ireland. There was outstanding talent on display,  with the final between Connacht and Leinster free flowing and exhibition stuff. 

Connacht looked fired up from the off and they got off to a fast start. Emily Foley touching down in the corner in the sixth minute. After a number of drives and continuous attack after attack, then they spread it wide and Foley got on the end of the play to touch down. Siofra Hession failed with the conversion. The game was played at a fast pace and both sides' fundamentals were excellent. 

Leinster troubled the Connacht defence just once in the first half. A line out five metres from the Connacht line but Hession’s big clearance ended Leinster’s momentum. Connacht had the majority of territory and they played some blitzing rugby, only for handling letting them down. 

Hession made a 40m break but she didn’t release a let off for Leinster. Then Hession was metres from the Leinster line, but her pass to Foley was short and again another let off for Leinster. Connacht were threatening but they weren’t adding to the scoreboard. 

Leinster did create mauls but they couldn’t breach the aggressive Connacht tackling. They did get the ball out wide and Clara Dunne looked dangerous in possession but the supply to her wasn’t frequent enough. Leinster lost their lock forward Erin McFadden just before half time. She was shown the yellow card for repeated infringements. Halftime Connacht 5 Leinster 0. 

Leinster were facing the breeze for the second half and 14 players for the first 10 minutes. They upped the intensity and kept the ball in the tight, being a player down. Carla Cloney was in support regularly for her team and Leinster controlled the game until McFadden came back on. 

Connacht then got themselves a penalty and Hession was successful with the kick. Connacht 8 Leinster 0. Although Connacht were having the edge in play, Leinster were playing well also. Then a pass from the excellent Grainne Moran to her outhalf Jemma Lees, lees dropped the pass. Leinster took full advantage of Connacht’s error, they mauled and rucked their way to the Connacht line, then spread it wide and Sadhbh Kinsella Furlong touched down in the corner. Meabh O’Hara missed the conversion. Connacht 8 Leinster 5. 

Time was running out on Leinster and although they did threaten to break the lines, Connacht kept the ball with their forwards and saw out the clock for the win. 


Connacht E Foley try, S Hession penalty. 

Leinster S Kinsella Furlong try. 

Connacht: Aoife Heaney, Saoirse Lawley, Sarah Purcell, Siofra Hession, Emily Foley, Jemma Lees, Grainne Moran, Ciara Corrigan, Uillin Eilian, Ella Burns, Catherine Fleming, Chloe Conneely, Merisa Kiripati, Ailish Quinn, Jemima Adam’s Verling. Subs used Louise Seoighe/Joyce and Roisin Power. 

Referee: Daniel O’Connell. 

Player of the match:

Siofra Hession (Connacht) 

It was hard to overlook Sarah Purcell’s leadership, Grainne Moran’s missile throwing from scrum half, both Catherine Fleming and Chloe Conneely’s powerful running and tackling. But Hession’s ability to break the lines and gain territory was instrumental and only for a few decisions when the ball was in her hands, she could have created another couple of tries.