Hayes tar­gets hat-trick for UL Bo­hemi­ans

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports -

UL Bo­hemi­ans cap­tain Fiona Hayes lifted the women’s tro­phy for a sec­ond year in a row af­ter the ta­ble top­pers over­came Old Belvedere in yes­ter­day ’s sun-kissed fi­nal in Port­laoise.

Seán Fitzpa­trick’s UL’s pow­er­ful scrum forced a first-half penalty try and Ni­amh Briggs’ pin­point cross­field kick set up winger Laura Shee­han for the clinch­ing score, 17 min­utes from time. There was hardly a big­ger smile than that etched across the face of UL loose­head and skip­per Hayes. “Three in a row – I was think of re­tir­ing, but now the three in-a-row looks invit­ing, and sure I could go peace­fully af­ter that,” she quipped.

Bohs may have dom­i­nated long spells of the first half but some costly turnovers de­nied them scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Old Belvedere look dan­ger­ous on the counter at­tack – in­clud­ing a snappy break from Nora Sta­ple­ton – but all too of­ten poor han­dling let them down when they looked to have cre­ated some hard-earned space.

UL should have taken the lead mid­way through the half when the power of their pack told once again.

Phases

Hav­ing gone through the phases in­side the Old Belvedere 22, they moved the ball left only for winger Laura O’Ma­hony to knock on with the line at her mercy. How­ever, just min­utes later, they took the lead af­ter a se­ries of five-me­tre scrums when ref­eree Daithí Flood’s pa­tience ran out and he awarded the penalty try. Bohs’ ex­pe­ri­enced fron­trow of Hayes, Gil­lian Bourke and Fiona Reidy the trio from Mun­ster’s In­ter­provin­cial ti­tle-win­ning cam­paign - did the dam­age.

With 37 min­utes on the clock, Bohs out­half Briggs split the posts with a penalty from 35 me­tres out, af­ter Old Belvedere had been pe­nalised for not re­leas­ing.

Belvedere winger Gemma Matthews earned plau­dits for a try-sav­ing in­ter­ven­tion out wide. Half­backs Ni­cole Cronin and Briggs com­bined to set Áine Staunton free close to the half­way line. The full­back went on a mazy run only to be stopped inches short by scrumhalf Kathryn Dane. From the en­su­ing scrum, UL worked the phases and when the op­por­tu­nity arose, Briggs de­liv­ered her cross­field kick into Shee­han’s arms for a touch­down.

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