The Galwegians Women buffed off the rust so apparent last weekend, hammering home a four-try 22-0 victory on Sunday over the travelling Portlaoise.anneoC_640x427

Their less-than-impressive Cup opener away to Old Belvedere in the Paul Flood Leinster Cup looked a distant memory if Sunday’s performance was anything to go by. While handling issues remain a lingering nuisance; cohesion and communication appear to have sorted themselves out.

Anne O’Callaghan jacked up forward pods in the nine-10 channel well from scrumhalf, a jersey she seeks outright over provincial incumbent Sorcha Ni Chadhain. O’Callaghan looked as good as she’d ever done in the past 24 months on the weekend, relishing the opportunity to feed a backline which promised much in broken play.

beckymcP2_640x418Outside her, outhalf Clare Raftery hedged the tourists deep in their own territory to snuff out any chance of a resurgence, 13 Lisa McDonagh found few problems stretching her legs with ball-in-hand in both set-piece and running rugby, and wing/centre-cum-fullback Becky McPhilbin grabbed the fourth try – just reward for a solid 80-minutes’ toil.

In the engine room, the ‘Wegians pack welcomed back Sarah Brennan after a Christmas lay-off, the accomplished sculler proved as adept on terra firma as on the water, and anchored the Blue Belles’ scrum throughout. Part-time winger Grace Kelly went from last-minute stand-in flanker to standout by the second quarter.

Kelly took the best part of 40minutes to adjust her support-lines from outside back to blindside forward, but she opened her defensive dance-card the way she meant to finish with several textbook tackles and proved a thorny prospect for Portlaoise ball-carriers. by the final quarter she was an ever-present link in several slick interplays showing nothing in the way of nerves. On the balance of Sunday’s performance, Kelly may well feature as a first-choice 6 or 7 in the near future.beckyMcP1_640x437

Pooled with Old Belvedere, Portlaoise, Barnhall and Navan in one half of the Leinster Cup draw, ‘Wegians is well-placed now for a top-three finish and follow-on qualification in the AIL national knock-out championship.

Galwegians 22 (N Ni Chadhain, R McPhilbin, L McDonagh, T Haywood tries; C Raftery conv), beat Portlaoise 0. HT 10-0.


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