Boyne/Ardee 5 – 5 Portarlington/Cill dara (Leinster Girls u'18 League League Final)

Boyne/Ardee 5 – Portdara (Portarlington/Cill dara) 5
(Boyne win on Try count-back - first try scored).
Wild scenes of jubilation greeted the final whistle when Boyne/Ardee clinched the Leinster League trophy in a dramatic final in Donnybrook on Saturday. No script could have been written to cover the drama in this game. With the teams locked at 5-all from the end of the first half and with the influential Susie Keogh in the sin-bin for the last 7 minutes, Portdara laid siege to the Boyne/Ardee line. Tackle upon tackle went in to prevent what would have been a match winning score from the Kildare side and a final lunge for the try line was stopped inches short when the intensity of the Boyne/Ardee tackling caused the ball to be knocked-on over the line. The referee's final whistle sounded and was greeted with scenes of joy and relief as Boyne/Ardee won the trophy by virtue of having scored the first try in the try count-back which decided the outcome.
Whilst this was a dramatic end to the game, it befitted what was an enthralling encounter between two skillful sides who played a final full of passion, bravery and commitment in the best traditions of rugby in the home of Leinster at a glorious sunny Donnybrook. There were leaders and match winning performances all over the pitch. The front five of Niamh Tester, Holly Keogh, Susie Keogh, Hannah Ettie and Aoife O'Malley were a rock in the tight. In the loose, Susie Keogh, Aine Reilly, Deirdre Walsh and Rebecca Murray drove time after time into the Portdara defence. In the backline, Louise McCleery, Niamh McBride, Olive Maguire and Orla Balfe controlled the whole midfield. Out wide Emer McCoy, Soha Smyth and Breahna Millington closed down the Portdara attack at every opportunity with a display of of textbook tackles. The all-important Boyne/Ardee try came in the first half and fittingly it was two of their outstanding players Susie Keogh and Aine Reilly who combined following an attacking scrum in a powerful attack that saw Reilly get the touchdown. A narrow miss of the conversion left the score at 5-nil to the Louth team. Portdara responded with a series of attacks of their own and following a number of punishing forays into the Boyne/Ardee 22, they got the equalising try in the corner. With the conversion missed the sides went into the half time break locked at 5 points all and set up the dramatic second half.
Both sides threw everything at each other in the second period but despite coming close, neither team could find the breakthrough. Sally Kirk and Roisin Feehan came on for Boyne/Ardee and gave fresh impetus to the attack. However the stalemate continued into the final minutes which saw Portdara camped on the Boyne/Ardee line. The resolute spirit of the team was such that the defence held firm and the line remained intact when the final whistle blew.
Great credit goes to both sides for great game and at the end of the game the Boyne/Ardee players acknowledged the valiant effort of their Portdara counterparts.
The Boyne/Ardee girls also thank the huge numbers of supporters who traveled to Donnybrook on Saturday.
Boyne/Ardee Squad: Roisin Feehan, Holly Keogh, Niamh Tester, Susie Keogh, Hannah Ettie, Olive Maguire, Rebecca Murray, Orla McDonnell, Orla Balfe, Aine Reilly, Louise McCleery, Deirdre Walsh, Emer McCoy, Aoife O'Malley, Breahna Millington, Rachel Wickam, Leah McCarthy, Sally Kirk, Tess Meade, Soha Smith, Niamh Osborne, Zoe Dolfi, Catrine O'Connor, Niamh McBride.