Balbriggan RFC enjoyed a very hard-earned one point win at home to a very well-drilled Naas team. It was a tight game that left everyone on the sideline entertained.
The away side took the lead first with a very well-worked try by Jamie Garland but unfortunately pulled the conversion wide. Centre Megan McAuley evened up the score when she carried off the back of a strong Balbriggan attack; her carries gave Balbriggan an excellent platform throughout the game.
With the scores even, Balbriggan made good use of the wind with outhalf-for-the-day Laura Brown kicking deep and forcing Naas to play from their own half. Naas happily did so and made some very good inroads with their transition play, but Balbriggan’s defence did well to hold on, with the forwards working tirelessly; an appearance from Tracey McFadden helped keep the energy levels up. Balbriggan continued their attacking efforts and boxed clever, opting to kick the points from a penalty on the stroke of halftime to give them an 8-5 lead at the break.
The second half was almost a mirror image of the first, with clever kicking from Naas putting Balbriggan’s back three under pressure but Kate McFadden, Sarah McDonald, and Sorcha Murphy dealt with the pressure well, as did Nneka Uchegbu when she came on.
Against the wind it was a big effort for Balbriggan as they simply had to keep the ball and play, but Lorna McKenna’s carries helped in spades. At set pieces, Holly Keogh, Stephanie Campbell, and Caoimhe Colman scrummaged well and helped run a very clinical lineout. Laura McDonald ran very good lines against the grain and Giorgia Tanner organised her forward pack well.
Balbriggan continued to play and when a kick bounced favourably for Cliodhna Ní Chonchobhair, she collected it and almost ran in a try but for some excellent scramble defence from a Naas winger. She released the ball after being tackled, allowing her a second bite, but the Naas defence covered well. Captain Eadaoin Cannon discussed a later penalty with her vice captains and decided three points were the way to go; a decision that would ultimately prove valuable.
Naas stayed in the hunt and continued to attack well with Ali Miley getting in for a try to make it a one-point game. After restarting, with time running out, Balbriggan’s forwards continued to dominate possession before Laura Brown cleared it well into touch for the final whistle to sound. A huge team effort, with seven of the day’s team enjoying their first season with Balbriggan RFC.
FT Score Balbriggan 11 v 10 Naas