Balbriggan win latest battle over Navan in growing rivalry

by Dave Donnelly
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Balbriggan RFC edged the Leinster rugby Division 3 league final with a close and hard-fought 12-8 success over north-east neighbours Navan RFC.

This game was a titanic struggle between two teams that were meeting for the third time this season. Balbriggan might have been strong favourites, but Navan took hold of the game from the off.

The Meath club had the better of possession and enjoyed long periods in the opposition territory. They were the first to score through a well-taken penalty early in the first half.
Balbriggan eventually struck back after half an hour with a converted try from out-half Dearbhla Sheridan.

Balbriggan were close to scoring again in the first half but determined Navan defence kept them out.

Navan went for it after the restart and dominated the second half. Their hard work was finally rewarded after 25 minutes with a fine try through their forwards. The conversion was just wide but Navan led 7-8.

The North Dublin women made good use of a short spell of possession to run in a wonderful try through centre Siobhan Verdon with just three minutes left on the clock. The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 12-8 to Balbriggan.

There was a nervy end to the match but Balbriggan held out to secure the title and promotion to Division 2 next season.

Both Navan and Balbriggan remain in the Paul Cusack Cup and could yet meet again in another final.

In Division 2, meanwhile, Suttonians were edged out by Tullow RFC 17-15.

Each and every player put in a huge effort for their incredible supporters and, despite the fight that the opposition brought, Tullow prevailed.

After 10 minutes of Tullow dominance, Suttonians were first to score when they were awarded a penalty and took advantage of a defensive lapse to score from the Tullow 10-metre line.

Tullow equalised with a fine maul from a lineout and hooker Maggie Kelly went over with out-half Hilary Griffin converting.

On 30 minutes, a training ground move from the 10-metre line saw Tullow full-back Chloe Farrell cross the whitewash, with the conversion striking the post.

Suttonians started the second half strongly with a try to level the game. A while later they followed that with a penalty to give them a three-point lead.
Despite this setback, Tullow found a way back into the game through scrum-half Ann Marie Fitzgerald.

She found Amy McGrath who’s strong carry allowed Grace Kelly to finish in the corner. The try levelled the game, and, with the pressure on, Hilary Griffin slotted the crucial conversion to claim the Division 2 title.

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