NUIG surged back to championship winning form against the Galwegians Second XV on Sunday, 10 points ahead in the finish, 22-12 at Crowley Park, Glenina.
Galwegians, fielding several rugby newcomers, made regular inroads in broken play through an NUIG backline experienced enough to contain linebreaks against more organised opposition. Masterminded by former Connacht stalwart Sorcha Ni Chadhain (10), Ina Butler (12) carried well for Galwegians throughout locking up three college defenders on four or five occasions desperate to halt her progress.
Ni Chadhain’s frustration was obvious time and again when player disparities out wide yielded little in the way of points. A follow-up surge off her shoulder would have plundered gaps but, sadly for the blues, no punch came; inexperience proving the deciding factor.
To NUIG’s credit their scramble defense rallied well to shut down opposition forays in the first and last quarters, youngster Rachel Tierney (8), locks Rach Buckley and Tara Buggie and plucky scrumhalf Shannon Lane responsible for minimising the fallout from colleagues’ mistakes.
Tierney, busy carrying ball as well, was one of four or five NUIG juggernauts who benefited from one-on-one mismatches. Props Lizzie McKeever and Elaine Johnson. openside Brid Reddington, outhalf Katie Kilbane and midfielders Orla Dixon and Cella O Callaghan pushed hard in the second half, Kilbane and Dixon reaping second half benefits one try apiece.
Tierney, fresh from a pre-season campaign with the Connacht Under18s, nabbed the first half’s only try; a concerted forward effort after a furious campaign deep in Galwegians’ territory. Standing two inches short of six feet, she stayed busy for the duration be it defending, marching up the middle, or linking farther out.
Much of Galwegians’ issued were largely manufactured in-house as lineout after lineout sailed conspicuously down their side. Referee Cian de Buitlear had little option but to police them accordingly. The NUIG scrum too encountered little resistance when securing their own ball and was able to disrupt significant Glenina feeds and clearances as well.
NUIG coach Simon Lawless was circumspect after the win.