Munster Women’s League: Thurles Women’s RFC had an emphatic 26-10 victory over visitors Fermoy on Sunday in Thurles.
Fermoy were on the attack early in the game and their speed and skill looked threatening but Thurles were very strong in defence and the visitors failed to make any real ground. The first attack from Thurles was an impressive one. A Thurles lineout was won confidently by Joanne Harrison and the Thurles forwards mauled their opponents to make vital ground with Catherine Kearney making great ground in the subsequent passage of play.
Jean Ryan with a fantastic tackle and turnover gave the home side a wonderful attacking position. A superb run from Niamh Coman and wonderful support play from the forwards gave Thurles a real opportunity to put points on the board. Thurles’ first try came from Maria Woodlock who edged powerfully over the line for what was a well deserved try for the home side. The conversion attempt from a very tight angle was narrowly missed. Thurles were ahead 5-0.
Thurles were the better side in the ensuing minutes of the game with both the forwards and the backs impressive. Aisling O’Hagan with wonderful support play from Miriam Harrison were particularly impressive for the backs. Fowards Ciara O’Dwyer and Jean Ryan were both solid in attack and both girls were unfortunate not to score. It was Aisling O’Hagan that was the scorer of Thurles’ second try, a skilful try that was the result of rapid and accurate passing from the back line. With Megan Callanan easily slotting over the conversion Thurles were ahead 12- 0.
Thurles scored another try before the half time whistle and once again a combined team effort and some excellent play resulted in a well deserved try from Megan Callanan which she also expertly converted to give the home side a 19-0 lead at half time. And it was also Callanan’s excellent kick for just a few moments earlier that set up the play that resulted in the try.
Fermoy started the second half very well, their speed and accuracy carrying them in over the line for their first try of the game just moments into the second half. The angle for the conversion was tight and narrowly missed. Thurles led 19-5.
Fermoy, boosted from the try, went on the attack moments later and two superb tackles were made by Thurles back Niamh Coman at crucial moments. However, Fermoy seemed to have the momentum with them during these phases and went in over the line for their second try. Once again the conversion was missed, the home side had a 19-10 lead.
Thurles dug deep and players such as Linda Ryan, Jean Ryan and Angie Kelly all putting in some fantastic tackles. The forwards worked hard to secure and maintain possession. A fourth try for the home side came once again from Aisling O’Hagan after she spotted a gap in the Fermoy defence, skilfully dodged a tackle to score right under the posts. Megan Callanan slotted over the conversion with ease. Thurles were once again in the driving seat on a 26- 10 lead.
Thurles were unlucky not to score again and the Fermoy defence was challenged on numerous occasions throughout the remainder of the game. Most notably Joanne Harrison, Maria Woodlock and Niamh Coman making superb ground in attack. Ruth Purcell and Michelle Ryan also put in solid attacks late in the game with frequent menacing forays into the opposition 22. Although Fermoy had a number of lineouts Thurles forward Sinead Kilcare was strong in the air and managed to secure possession for the home side. Thurles defended well in the closing minutes of the game and at full time had a comfortable and well deserved 26-10 victory over their strong North Cork opponents, Fermoy.
The result sees Thurles with a clear lead at the top of the league table heading into the round robin stages. Exciting times ahead for the Thurles women.